NZ Herald Jul 22, 2010
Legalising euthanasia has won huge support from readers of the Herald website, reflecting the earlier findings of scientific public opinion polls. By last night, 82 per cent of nzherald.co.nz poll respondents said euthanasia should be legalised. The poll was started after 61-year-old Auckland GP Dr John Pollock, who has just months to live after being diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, spoke out in favour of voluntary euthanasia. Dr Pollock, who retired from his North Shore medical practice after he was diagnosed with cancer in December, said the disease could kill him in a drawn-out and unpleasant way. It was unfair that unlike in the handful of states that have legalised euthanasia, in New Zealand he would be subject to “cruel laws which force me to suffer to the end or kill myself”.
More than 6000 readers responded to the Herald poll, which, although not a scientific survey, gives an indication of public views. It found even greater support for euthanasia than shown in surveys by the research firm Colmar Brunton and Massey University in 2008. The Massey survey found that 70 per cent supported a doctor being permitted by law to end a patient’s life, at the patient’s request, if the person had a painful, incurable disease. The Colmar Brunton poll found 71 per cent of people wanted to have the right to choose medically assisted death if they had quality of life they considered totally unacceptable because of an illness or condition.