NZ Herald 9 June 2015
It did not take long. Just three days, if that, for the politicians to get voluntary euthanasia well and truly off the political agenda.
Such is the wariness of MPs when confronted with conscience votes on such matters where they consider they have more to lose than they stand to gain.
Last Friday, they were tripping over one another in their haste to express their condolences to the family of Lecretia Seales. By Monday afternoon, Seales’ legacy – her surviving wish for people like her who have a terminal illness which causes enduring suffering to be able to determine when they die – had effectively been sidelined by the two major parties.
Seales’ legal challenge prompted the High Court to throw responsibility for the law covering assisted death back into Parliament’s lap. The response of John Key and Andrew Little was to kick for touch.
The Prime Minister’s very deliberate statement yesterday that he was “open” to a full select committee inquiry was designed to give the impression Parliament was actually doing something, while at the same time slotting into Labour’s plan for neutralising the issue.
Parliament will actually be doing nothing. Whatever an inquiry, which will take months aplenty, comes up with by way of a report and recommendations are not binding on the Government. Key can ignore the findings.
Act plans assisted dying bill
NZ Herald 9 June 2015
The hopes of euthanasia supporters appear to rely on Act leader David Seymour and the luck of the draw after both Prime Minister John Key and Labour chief Andrew Little ruled out putting up a bill on the issue.
Mr Key said yesterday that he felt sympathy for Lecretia Seales’ case on assisted dying for the terminally ill but others in National were strongly opposed to it and the Government would not sponsor a euthanasia bill.
Mr Key said he agreed with Justice David Collins’ ruling in Lecretia Seales’ court case that it was up to Parliament to change the law on the issue. However, that should be a conscience vote for MPs and dealt with in a member’s bill.
The PM said National was open to a select committee inquiry that could result from a petition on the matter and allow public debate.
The decision to rule out a Government bill means an individual MP will have to put in a private member’s bill and rely on luck to get it into the House, because measures are selected by ballot.