New Zealand: Labour’s Euthanasia Bill – A Very Real Threat to the Elderly

International   |   Ken Orr   |   Jul 21, 2013   |   6:18PM   |   Wellington, New Zealand

The Labour caucus has a Private Members Bill in the ballet titled “End of Life Choice Bill” in the name of Maryan Street. If passed it would allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.

This bill was placed in the ballet box in July 2012. The bill hangs over the nation’s head like the Sword of Damocles, just waiting to fall. The bill if passed would undermine the common good, pose a serious threat to the lives of the elderly the disabled and the seriously ill. Such a Bill would totally alter the respect and trust that patients have with their doctors and impose an unwanted watershed change in our healthcare system.

The nation is preparing for a general election in 2014. It is important in an election year that the electorate focuses on the important issues such as housing, education, welfare and the cost of living. If this bill were drawn from the ballot before the election, it would prove a major unwanted distraction for the electorate.

It is important in our Parliamentary democracy that the Labour Party presents itself to the electorate as a viable party fit to govern. There are many in our community who are deeply concerned at the social engineering imposed on our community by previous Labour governments. These concerned citizens would be reluctant to vote for a political party that supports doctors being given the right to kill their patients.

The bill is strongly opposed by the New Zealand Medical Association [NZMA], Hospice New Zealand and the Catholic Bishops Conference. The chairman of the NZMA has said, “euthanasia is unethical and cannot be condoned.” This obnoxious bill seeks to undermine medical ethics. The bill would effectively result in doctors ultimately becoming agents of the state, who will decide who shall live and who shall die. Medical ethics are there to protect the weak and the vulnerable in our community. We undermine these ethics at our peril.

Why is the Labour caucus prepared to challenge the medical ethics of a profession that is committed to protecting human life from conception to natural death? The support of the Labour caucus for this unprecedented challenge to the medical profession should be a cause for major concern for every citizen. Has the Labour Party misinterpreted the amount of concern held by many in the electorate? The question must now be asked; is the Labour Party a responsible and suitable political party to govern this country?



In the interest of the nation and indeed of the Labour Party, Right to Life joins with Family First in earnestly requesting that Maryan Street withdraw this pernicious and destructive bill from the ballet. If the member is really concerned about alleviating the pain of the terminally ill and assisting people to die with compassionate care and real dignity, why does she not sponsor a bill to provide more funding for our palliative care hospices? Note: Ken Orr is the spokesman for Right to Life of New Zealand.