Shortly after NZ List MP, Maryan Street introduced her now-withdrawn 'énd of Life Choices' Bill in 2012, Prime Minister John Key weighed into the debate.
His comments showed, unfortunately, that he had little grasp of the issue. I commented at the time:
Mr Key said yesterday that he could understand the argument that legalising euthanasia might put pressure on the elderly to end their lives early, in the face of "rapacious grandkids", but "I don't really buy that argument".
So, Elder Abuse is not a problem in New Zealand? Sure, and New Zealand's full of hobbits, too!
". . . If I had terminal cancer, I had a few weeks to live, I was in tremendous amount of pain - if they just effectively wanted to turn off the switch and legalise that by legalising euthanasia, I'd want that." He added.
Here again Key appears not to understand that pain can be effectively managed at the end-of-life. And I thought we'd long gotten past the curious and erroneous notion that euthanasia was about 'turning off the switch'or 'pulling the plug'.
The Prime Minister also indicated 'in principle support' at the time but has recently changed his mind on that point at least in a recent interview with Family First New Zealand's Bob McCoskrie. The New Zealand Herald reporting:
But he said he would not vote for a bill proposed by Labour MP Maryan Street that would allow any adult suffering from a condition likely to cause their death within 12 months to request medical assistance to die.
"If it's the same bill, I'll oppose it because I think the way that bill was structured is not good law," he said. "In the world that I live in, in my head, it's a conscience issue. So when someone says to me 'euthanasia' I think of the person that is terminally ill, that is going to die, and in a tremendous amount of times and in my world, euthanasia is a legitimate thing in that situation."
Mr Key acknowledged that he voted for an earlier euthanasia bill in 2003 which supposedly limited the access to terminally ill people only.
Following the General Election in New Zealand in November, Maryan Street is expected to table yet another attempt at legalising euthanasia and/or assisted suicide.