David Seymour, M.P. for Epsom in central Auckland, has a rare ally in passing his euthanasia Bill of Parliament: me.
Those who know me know I generally despise the A.C.T. Party and everything it stands for. They know I think it goes completely contrary to all that I stand for and want to be seen to be standing for. So one could perhaps be a bit surprised that I am standing up for a Bill of Parliament from a single-M.P. party that I had hoped would meet its electoral oblivion last year.
There are a few reasons why I choose to support Mr Seymours Bill of Parliament:
- I believe that a person who is suffering illness that is terminal in nature, degrading to their being and which will eventually kill them – not before making them endure a degrading death no right person would wish on them – should have the right to decide whether they want to continue to suffer
- Mr Seymours Bill acknowledges that there are risks around the implementation of the euthanasia process should it be legalized and it has sought to address them
- If Mr Seymour does not bring the Bill to Parliament, someone else will, so it is a conversation that New Zealand is going to have sooner or later
- It is not a loop hole that will let children bump off elderly parents – the Bill ensures that there are checks written into it which will stop that kind of behaviour from happening
Over the last couple of years we have seen some painful cases of debilitating illnesses degrading people to a state where their lives had no purpose or dignity. One need to look no further than lawyer Lecretia Seales or former trade union activist Helen Kelly. Both were suffering debilitating illness that had made their lives painful and increasingly lacking in dignity.
As mentioned in previous articles, there will be individuals and organizations that cannot accept this. That is fine. New Zealand is a democracy and it is quite fine to have an opinion. It is equally fine to express it, as I hope that they did in making a submission on the Bill of Parliament before submissions closed on Tuesday. What is just as fine is for people to disagree with them, as I do and no doubt many others will as well. It is not for myself or others or organizations to decide what a person can do with their body or their life.
Where I think there needs to be a change in procedure is taking this out of the hands of a conscience vote in Parliament. A conscience vote is where M.P.’s votes are determined by their own beliefs and not by science or reasoned logic based on research. The fact that conscience votes on divisive topics such as this have so far gone in the direction that I had hoped for is more luck than anything. That is not to say that they will go in that way in the future.