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Turia speaks out against End of Life Choice Bill

MEDIA RELEASE: Saturday, 6 April 2019

Dame Tariana Turia speaks out against End of Life Choice Bill in #DefendNZ third documentary – A life in chronic pain

Former Minister for Disability Issues, Associate Minister for Health, and founder and the founder and former leader of the Māori Party, Dame Tariana Turia speaks out against the End of Life Choice Bill in the third documentary released today by #DefendNZ – a grassroots movement opposed to the End of Life Choice Bill.

Dame Turia comes from a desire to maintain tikanga Māori in regard to death and dying. “These are matters for the family and whānau to attend to. Instead of enabling the suicide of some, the State should be protecting the lives of all.”

She sees the End of Life Choice Bill as a potentially dangerous cultural and social shift in Aotearoa. She comments in the documentary A life in chronic pain, “MPs are there to run the country. They are not there, to make such significant decisions about life and death.

“And I can't see, how this contributes to the overall wellbeing, of our whānau and our communities.”

A life in chronic pain features the story of Dr John Fox of Christchurch, who was born with spastic hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

John experiences chronic intense pain and mobility decline. His mobility decline means that he is “in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability”. Doctors and lawyers he has consulted say that he could be eligible for euthanasia under the End of Life Choice Bill.

John is very concerned that the End of Life Choice Bill creates a “conveyer belt to suicide” for those who are seriously ill or who have disabilities. He finds this not only greatly troubling but also extremely discriminatory.

John states, “If I were a 25-year-old rugby player, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Suddenly, because I’m sick, I have to stand in front of a camera and say why I think my life is valuable. This in itself is a huge problem.”

As well as Dame Tariana Turia, also complementing John’s story are exclusive commentaries from Dr Mary English (GP and spokesperson for Doctors Say No),Professor Margaret Somerville (Professor of bioethics, Sydney and Montreal), Grant Illingworth QC (Barrister-at-law), and Richard McLeod (Human rights, immigration and refugee lawyer).

The film can be viewed at www.defendnz.co.nz/john

#DefendNZDisabled
ENDS

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