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Dr. ‘Death’ and New Zealand’s Chief Coroner at Loggerheads



Nitschke and Exit International take credit for New Zealand suicides.

Dr. ‘Death’ and New Zealand’s Chief Coroner at Loggerheads

Commenting on new statistics released on August 26th. that showed increasing rates of suicide in women and the elderly, the Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean expressed concern about the high rate of suicide in people aged in their 80s and beyond. The essence of his remarks was that the whole community needed to pull together to reduce the number of preventable deaths by suicide. “We should be looking out for each other; you should be helping your neighbour”, he said. He noted that a number of helping agencies were active in the community; but, he said, “It is very hard to determine which initiatives, if any, (are) having an impact on the rate of suicide.” (N.Z. Herald August 27th 2013.)

Australian based Dr. Philip Nitschke, Director of Exit International, an organisation dedicated to legalising euthanasia, is not so uncertain. Commenting on the Coroner’s remarks on Exit’s blog, he advises New Zealanders not to be alarmed by the trend to increasing suicides in older people, which he blames on a combination of increasing age and ill health. He believes that the rate of suicide is actually much higher than official statistics reveal because many “go out of their way to make death look natural.” He takes credit for his organisation being a source of supplies of MaxDog nitrogen to elderly New Zealanders with which to terminate their lives in such a way as to make the cause of death “impossible to determine”. He does not reveal how the empty gas cylinder is spirited away from the site if the individual is acting alone. Dr. Nitschke also takes credit for assisting potential suicide patients to source and import Nembutal from China.

Professor Emeritus David Richmond, a spokesperson for Euthanasia Free New Zealand, agreeing with Judge MacLean’s concerns, observed that by covering up the cause of death in people using its methods, it could be implied that Exit was deliberately attempting to hide a crime. “Furthermore”, he said, “under such circumstances, no-one could be certain whether the unfortunate event was a genuine suicide or whether it involved a relative killing an elderly person for personal gain. Given the high levels of elder abuse in New Zealand, such concerns are not fanciful.” He expressed concern that were MP Maryan Street’s End of Life Choices Bill currently in Parliament’s ballot system passed into law, if would pre-empt Exit International’s ‘un-neighbourly’ contribution to the suicide rate in New Zealand by making it possible for anyone aged 18 and over to be euthanased at public expense provided they were careful in the way they worded their application. No-one could prevent it without running afoul of legal penalties. “In that case, what basis would our community have to continue to be concerned about the suicide rate?” he asked. “The State would surely be seen to be favouring Dr. Nitschke’s triumphalistic attitude towards suicide rates to the neglect of the opinion of a responsible majority of its citizens who, like Judge MacLean, are deeply concerned about them.”

Euthanasia Free New Zealand is asking the authorities to look into the importation, by Exit, of devices intended to be used to kill people.


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