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Right to Life Requests that Carmel Sepuloni Resign

How can the Government be serious about protecting the rights of the disabled when the Minister responsible, Carmel Sepuloni, is not prepared to stand up to protect their inalienable right to life of the disabled. A yes vote by her at the first reading of David Seymour’s “End of Life Choice’ bill, is in direct opposition to the wishes of the disability sector. Right to Life requests that the Hon Carmel Sepuloni resign as Minister of Disability Issues.

Right to Life also questions the sincerity of the Labour led government in its commitment to defending the rights of the disabled. How can the government make a claim of commitment to the disabled, when in December 2018 a total of 37 Labour MPs and nine NZ First MPs voted to support David Seymours ‘End of Life Choice bill [EOLCB] at its first reading? The provisions of this bill provide for any disabled person with any irreversible disability involving progressive decline in capability being eligible for assisted suicide or a lethal injection.

The government members in supporting this EOLCB are giving a very clear message to the disabled that they believe their lives are not worth living and they are prepared to empower doctors to give them a lethal injection or to assist them to commit suicide.

The minister was one of the 37 Labour MPs who supported the EOLCB at its first reading in December 2018. Right to Life has written to the Minister requesting that she vote against this bill at its second reading in June. She has not replied.

The Minister in a media release dated 7 June states that she is travelling to New York to represent New Zealand at the 12th Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Conference on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [CRPD] The Minister will be giving an address on “violence and abuses against disabled people”. Right to Life respectfully asks how can she give this address opposing violence and abuses against the disabled when she and her government members overwhelmingly support the disabled being given a lethal injection or being assisted in their suicide? Is this not violence and the ultimate abuse?

The Minister and her government are abandoning the most vulnerable members of our human family. There is not one major disability organisation in New Zealand that supports the End of Life Choice bill. All the written and oral submissions made to the Justice Select Committee on the EOLCB from organisations representing the disabled in our community were overwhelmingly opposed to the bill. Why therefore is the Minister ignoring them?

The Minister and the government should listen to the Disability Commissioner Paula Tesoriero who said In an interview with Stuff this month, “This Bill undermines the position of disabled and vulnerable members of our community and poses significant risks to them. The proposed safeguards in the Bill are deficient, both procedurally and substantively, for both terminal and non-terminal conditions.” Why is the Minister ignoring her?

The sponsor of the bill, desperate to gain support from Parliament, is prepared to have his bill amended to reject the inclusion of the disabled from being killed by their doctor. Overseas experience reveals that once such a bill is passed it would very quickly be extended to include the disabled. Are we prepared for them to become victims of euthanasia?

Right to Life believes that the government needs to send a strong signal to the disabled in our community by voting NO to this bill, which threatens their lives. The government needs to reaffirm to the disabled in our community that their lives matter and that they are valued members of our human family.

Ken Orr
Spokesperson,
Right to Life

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