Media Release 17 July 2013
Family First NZ says that Labour MP Maryann Street should immediately withdraw her private members bill which is attempting to decriminalise assisted suicide or euthanasia.
“To legalise assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “It would send a dangerous message to young people about suicide and the value of life.”
“Maintaining the current laws protects all New Zealanders equally.”
“Labour’s key priority should be to improve provision of good palliative care and practical support. All New Zealanders should have access to quality pain control — no matter where they live. Pain control and palliative medicine should be given a higher priority in medical training so that every New Zealander can benefit.”
“We also need to apply the precautionary principle: the higher the risk – the higher the burden of proof on those proposing legislation. The risk of abuse cannot be eliminated, as has been evidenced in overseas jurisdictions such as the Netherlands and Belgium,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Legalising assisted suicide is a recipe for abuse. So-called ‘safeguards’ are an illusion because they are unable to prevent the potential for coercion and abuse.”
“Older New Zealanders are not a problem to be rid of — they’re a generation to be honoured and cared for. Elder Abuse has become a significant problem in New Zealand. We cannot ignore the possibility that dependent elderly people may be coerced into euthanasia or assisted suicide,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“We cannot put older New Zealanders at risk by creating new paths to elder abuse, potentially resulting in a ‘duty to die’.”