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Police action against assisted dying group is gratuitous


Police action against assisted dying group is gratuitous


Police raids on an assisted dying group raise serious questions about police treatment of a politically sensitive issue, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“With rates of burglary and assault going up, this is a baffling use of police resources. And putting an elderly woman in the cells for a nonviolent offence is a gratuitous use of intimidation tactics.

“Even if it’s just the one group that’s been targeted, there’s a concerning possibility that other assisted dying campaigners will feel intimidated, with less confidence to campaign publicly.

“Surely the police understand that there’s a formal political process currently underway around the Voluntary Euthanasia Society’s petition? The police should ensure that New Zealanders can make submissions to Parliament without fear of attracting undue search and surveillance.

“These raids on peaceful New Zealanders raise some serious questions. Who was the complainant? How did police get a warrant? Were any politicians, including the Minister, briefed?

“There should be a safe, legal way for people suffering terminal or irremediable illnesses to choose the time of their own death. It should not be left to groups like Exit International to import drugs illegally and administer them in potentially unsafe conditions with no doctor present.

“Like the Supreme Court of Canada called it, there is a ‘cruel choice’ between a violent amateur suicide, and ongoing suffering for dying people under our current law. Our own High Court admitted that individuals in these circumstances are often forced to end their own lives prematurely, for fear of being incapable of doing so at the point the suffering becomes intolerable.

“The other fear is of criminal liability for supportive family and friends – this fear won’t have been helped by today’s news.”

ENDS

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