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Voluntary Euthanasia Society Press release

Voluntary Euthanasia Society Press release

One of the world’s leading experts on voluntary euthanasia, Dutchman Dr Rob Jonquière, arrives in New Zealand this week for a nationwide speaking tour to support local campaigners for a law change to allow end-of-life choice.

Dr Jonquière was one of the principal architects of the Netherlands’ ground-breaking legislation that allows doctors to assist terminally ill patients to end their lives and suffering with dignity. He is now Communications Director of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, which comprises 52 organisations in 24 countries.

Dr Jack Havill, of Hamilton, President of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand which is sponsoring the visit, said Dr Jonquiere had been invited “because opponents of end-of-life choice are always quoting inaccurate facts supposedly based on the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries’ experiences.

“They have regular themes of elder abuse, threat to the disabled, encouragement of suicide, erosion of trust in doctors, mistaken diagnosis, and slippery slope conjecture,” Dr Havill said. “Dr Jonquière is in an authoritative position to quote the real facts and figures, counteract the repeated misleading statements and tell the real stories of what is happening in jurisdictions where physician-assisted dying has been legalised.”

In an advance statement, Dr Jonquiere said: “Thirty-five years of Dutch tolerated and legalised voluntary euthanasia practice shows no sign of a slippery slope.”

He arrives in New Zealand on Thursday and opens his tour with speeches in Auckland and Whangarei at the weekend. He will speak in most main centres and meet representatives of doctor and nursing organisations before finishing in Dunedin on March 11.


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