Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Canada euthanasia concerns confirmed in UN report

Disability Commissioner Paula Tesoriero outlayed her concerns about the End of Life Choice Bill to John Campbell on TVNZ’s Breakfast yesterday morning.

"I'm concerned that the safeguards are woefully inadequate,” she said. “I'm deeply troubled by the fact that this conversation is taking place in the absence of having a wider discussion about adequate disability support services in New Zealand.”

Ms Tesoriero referenced a recent report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, on her visit to Canada.

The UN report, published in April 2019, highlights concerns that disabled people are being pressured to consider euthanasia in Canada.

In the report Ms. Devandas-Aguilar said, "I am extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on Medical Assistance In Dying from a disability perspective [in Canada].

“There is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have been provided with viable alternatives when eligible for assistive dying. I have further received worrisome claims about persons with disabilities in institutions being pressured to seek medical assistance in dying, and practitioners not formally reporting cases involving persons with disabilities.” Ms. Devandas-Aguilar added.

David Seymour proposes to limit eligibility to people with either a terminal illness and six months or less to live, or a neurodegenerative condition and 12 months or less to live. Such an amendment may not succeed, because politicians on both sides are likely to vote against it: Those who want the Bill to fail and those who don’t want to discriminate against non-terminally ill people.

However, even if eligibility were limited to those with terminal or neurogenerative conditions, concerns from the disability community would still be relevant. Terminal illness usually involves disability.

The Bill’s eligibility criteria includes the clause, “in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability”, which is a description of “disability”.

"When we talk about choice, proponents of this bill talk about it as though everybody exercises their choice from an even playing field, and that is just not the case," Ms Tesoriero remarked.

This sense of burden that comes with choice is acknowledged by many disabled and terminally ill people, and is very real.

TVNZ’s Breakfast posted the interview on their Facebook page.

In response, a commenter posted, “I don’t want to be a burden on my family. The world has become selfish and greedy. I don’t want to take up my families time and energy that most families don’t have these days let alone financial assistance.”

Another reported, “I am terminal with ALS. These types of laws dehumanise people like me, as if our lives, pain and suffering are somehow less worthy of being experienced compared to any other hard work. They ignore the effects on family and friends, and ignore the opportunity of others to care and show compassion. If laws like this are passed, less effort will be spent finding a cure for ALS.”

Visiting Canadian euthanasia practitioner, Dr Stephanie Green, didn’t think that people who feel like a burden would be allowed to access euthanasia. She said, "If a patient comes and says to me, 'Look, I’m a burden on my family. This is something I feel I need to do for the best for my family,' that's not an eligibility requirement.”

In response Ms Tesoriero pointed out that, "International evidence shows that one of the top five reasons that people request euthanasia or assisted dying is precisely because they feel like a burden on their families.”

There is a distinction between the eligibility criteria and the underlying reasons for requesting death.

In Oregon assisted suicide drugs are available to people with a terminal illness that is likely to end their lives within six months or less.

Feeling like a burden is not one of the eligibility criteria in Oregon. However, according to the 2019 official report, over half of recipients of ‘assisted dying’ cited “concern about being a burden on family, friends/caregivers” as a motivator.”

Alarmingly the most common reasons are related to disability – about the fear of being dependent on support for daily living. About 92% reported concern about “losing autonomy” as a reason. 91% cited concern about “being less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable”. 44% were concerned about “losing control of bodily functions”.

Only a quarter cited “inadequate pain control or concern about it.”

#DefendNZ encourage MPs to consider the impact the End of Life Choice Bill could have on Kiwis who have life-limiting conditions as well as disabilities – people who are already feeling emotionally vulnerable as a result of the euthanasia debate.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The George Floyd Protests

Poverty, discrimination and repeated acts of police brutality all help to explain the rage being expressed on the streets of American cities right now after the death of George Floyd but there is a more immediate cause as well: Decades of research on police shootings and brutality reveal that officers with a history of shooting civilians, for example, are much more likely to do so in the future compared to other officers... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, ... More>>


Green Party: Statement On The Death Of George Floyd

“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama ... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Government Must Explain Why We’re Still At Level 2

The Government needs to explain to New Zealanders why it won’t consider a move to Alert Level 1 for another week, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller says.
“Kiwis have made enormous sacrifices to flatten the curve, but if their efforts still aren’t enough to move to Level 1 then the Government must explain why.... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Government: Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020

The New Zealand Order of Merit The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to make the following appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit: DNZM To be Dames Companion of the said Order: Distinguished ... More>>

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>






InfoPages News Channels