Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Vulnerable people must be protected from euthanasia coercion

20 August 2019


New amendments must be inserted into the End of Life Choice Bill to better protect vulnerable people from being coerced to end their lives, says the sponsor of those amendments, Chris Penk MP.

“The current protections written into the bill pay lip service to the concept of protection,” Mr Penk says. “When it comes to ending someone’s life, Parliament must make sure that it is that person’s own clear and free choice, and not anyone else’s. We owe it to vulnerable New Zealanders to make sure there is a robust process capable of clearly establishing that the decision is solely their decision, before their life is ended.”

Mr Penk’s amendment proposes new conditions that must be satisfied before confirming that someone’s life will be ended by euthanasia, including proper due diligence by a new, specialist body to be known as the Independent Panel of Practitioners.

“With its members to include experts in medicine, law, social work and elder abuse, the Panel would convene to consider requests for euthanasia and report on those,” Mr Penk says.

“Evidence available to the Panel would be gained by talking to the person’s previous medical doctors, relevant family members, and the person themselves. It could also involve referring the person for a psychiatric assessment to ensure they are making the decision without coercion. And it should certainly also involve considering relevant personal circumstances, their living situation, their will and their financial affairs.

“I’ve proposed specific tests that must be considered; to ensure the request to end the person’s life has not come about through family neglect, institutional neglect, societal neglect, a mental health condition, failures of the health system, or because someone else stands to gain financially from the person dying.

“I’m sure reasonable parliamentary colleagues will agree that these are not grounds for someone to be encouraged to end their lives.”

Mr Penk says he make no apologies for proposing more prescriptive and thorough tests in the bill to reduce the risk of coercion or abuse.

“There will be MPs that consider these protections go too far. However, in its current form the Bill’s claimed safeguard for detecting coercion is utterly inadequate. It is untenable that one doctor could or should have to shoulder the enormous burden of having to work out if their patient is being pressured into requesting assisted dying. I believe colleagues who are truly concerned about the risks to vulnerable people of a poorly regulated euthanasia regime will support some or all of these changes.”

“While there is no foolproof way of protecting vulnerable people from the risk of abuse or coercion in a bill like this, we must make no apology as a parliament for doing our utmost to reduce that risk.

“Vulnerable people must not be persuaded to end their lives because of a poorly written law and we MPs have a responsibility not to put vulnerable people in such a situation.

“As a lawyer prior to entering Parliament, I was always conscious of the need to protect against coercion, duress and undue influence being applied to vulnerable people, sadly often by family members closest to them.”


http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1908/End_of_Life_Choice_SOP__Penk_coercion.pdf


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Compensating Afghan Civilian Casualties

Reportedly, there have been nine incidents resulting in 17 civilian deaths and injuries (seven of the dead were children) caused by ordnance left behind on what used to be the firing range of our Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan province.

Given that the NZ Defence Force has needed to be hauled kicking and screaming into belatedly arranging an adequate clean-up of its old firing range… what would it take before New Zealand offers to pay compensation to the families of those who suffered death and injury from what was left behind on our watch? More>>

 

Fossil Fuel Investment: ACC Must Lead On Climate Change

As the largest publicly owned investor in New Zealand, the ACC board should divest from fossil fuels, demonstrating our leadership role on climate change, Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick said today. More>>

ALSO:

Total Officers, Up Less: Coalition's 1800 New Police Officers

The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. More>>

ALSO:

Predator Free: $3.5m For New Pest Controls

New Zealand First is proud to announce the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has allocated $3.5 million to develop innovative predator control approaches which will reduce the need for repeated 1080 use. More>>

ALSO:

Children's Day: Commissioner Calls For Govt Commitment

“Three decades on, we are able to celebrate some significant changes for children like the recent launch of a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. But we still have a long way to go to prioritise children’s rights.” More>>

ALSO:

Elections: Proposed Electorate Boundaries Released

The Representation Commission is proposing changes to half of New Zealand’s electorates and establishing a new electorate in south Auckland… More>>

ALSO:

"Effectively A Permanent Amnesty": Final Month For Gun Ban Compensation

The firearms buy-back comes to an end a month from today, but the police say the amnesty for returning banned guns will continue into next year and beyond. More>>

ALSO:


SPECIAL GUNS FOR FOREIGN SECURITY:


MORE ARMED POLICE:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels