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End-of-Life Choice Society of New Zealand Inc


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  • 23 Dec 2015 9:42 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    Right to Life, a group opposed to PAD, published this item yesterday.

    Dr Jack Havill, our President and David Barber, our media adviser, sent this press release: 

    Press release from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand

    It is a pity that as a Parliamentary committee is holding the first public inquiry into the issue of medically-assisted dying to end intolerable suffering of the terminally ill, opponents have resorted to a campaign of blatant lies, Dr Jack Havill, president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand (VESNZ), said on Tuesday.

    Dr Havill, a retired specialist with 30 years’ experience in intensive care of the seriously ill, said a statement by the Right to Life organisation claiming that VESNZ supported giving a suicide pill to all 70-year-olds was “full of lies and distorted thinking” designed to confuse when opinion polls show that nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders favour a law change.

    He said VESNZ had never supported giving a suicide pill to 70-year-olds in New Zealand, as claimed by Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr, and nor did Dutch euthanasia expert Dr Rob Jonquiere, who toured New Zealand earlier this year, advocate it.

    Dr Havill, of Hamilton, said Mr Orr “loves talking about killing” but preferred “people to have drawn out deaths with great suffering, should palliative care be unable to meet their needs”.

    Dr Havill said: “Physician assisted dying (PAD) is hugely different ethically and practically from murder and suicide. But it is obvious that Ken Orr and his ilk do not have either the intelligence or honesty to see the difference.

    “For the most part, the only individuals and organisations continuing to use the words ‘suicide’ and ‘killing’ in relation to PAD, are those who for political, religious or philosophical reasons advocate against it.  This is the reason that Right to Life loves using these words.”

    Dr Havill said VESNZ had no need to resort to lies to convince the public that no more people would die, but fewer would suffer if the law was changed allowing doctors to respond to requests by the terminally ill to end their lives peacefully.

    He said VESNZ’s position was spelled out in its submission to the health select committee’s inquiry on voluntary euthanasia which can be viewed on the Parliamentary website (Select Committee Assisted Dying Enquiry).

    Dr Jack Havill, 07-843-6077 or 021-330255

    Released by David Barber, media adviser, 04-905-8303 or 021-072-8760

  • 24 Nov 2015 8:12 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)
    The UK's Dignity in Dying latest Campaign Newsletter covers September's House of Commons debate, what it means and why we know we will win in the end.

    Click here to download »  

  • 19 Nov 2015 5:00 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    As you may already know, Maryan Street presented her submission on 14 October 2015 and the Health Select Committee is taking public submissions on assisted dying and suicide until February 2016.

    The Health Select Committee wants to hear from New Zealanders about their beliefs and concerns about end of life choices. It's your chance to tell our politicians how you feel about end of life care and the choices you want to have.

    Matt Vickers has put this helpful guide on Lecretia's website. Please look at it and make a submission.

    We can't let this opportunity slide by. If we don't speak up now, we won't get what we want.

  • 19 Nov 2015 4:53 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    We had an email last week from one of our members in reply to an email we'd sent about Advanced Directives and our "Guide to Dying Your Way".

    She has two really good ideas: 1) Organ donor and 2) Life Tube. We asked her permission to pass them on.

    It would also be possible to attach your AD to your fridge door - transparent plastic sleeve tied to a hinge maybe? We're sure you'll be able to think of some creative ways to stick it there.

    She said:

    A year or so ago I downloaded the 'Guide to Dying your Way' and subsequently amended it to suit myself and took my Advance Directive to my GP who was impressed and helpful. As this is not a legal document, one can add whatever one wants and after discussing with my GP, we added, 'I also request that my body be donated to the Auckland Medical School if deemed appropriate. I have made contact with them. But if I am required to have an autopsy, my body organs may be donated'.

    I feel that some altruistic members may like to consider these additions.

    I keep a copy of my Advance Directive in an Age Concern 'Life Tube' in the fridge - a 'Life Tube' red and white sticker is on the outside of the fridge, and I have written 'organ donor' on this. You may know about these Life Tubes - primarily for storing a record of medication for St John Ambulance should they be called.

  • 12 Nov 2015 7:07 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    On 2 September 2015 VESNZ made this general submission, supporting three parts to Physician Assisted Dying:

    1. use in terminally ill patients e.g. cancer patients

    2. use in individuals with grievous unbearable irreversible suffering which is relentless but may not cause death within 6 months e.g. motor neurone disease, very severe respiratory disease, and a number of other neurological conditions

    3. provision for an End-of-Life Directive, written while mentally competent, but allowing PAD when the patient has become mentally incompetent.

    Read here »

  • 19 Oct 2015 8:00 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    ACT leader David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill has now been lodged in the members’ ballot in Parliament. The Bill will not be considered by Parliament unless it is drawn, so for now the fate of the Bill is subject to the randomness of the regular ballots for members Bills.

    But the public campaign to raise awareness of the issue and to debate the many complex aspects of the Bill has already started.

    As part of that campaign David has established a website to help inform people of the issues surrounding assisted dying. From that website you can download a copy of the Bill, read through a number of recent articles about developments in New Zealand and overseas, leave personal stories for others to read, and register to be kept up-to-date with developments.

    David urges you to visit the website at and register to be kept informed of developments.

    We will also keep you informed of developments.

  • 12 Oct 2015 7:58 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    New Zealand voluntary euthanasia campaigners will take their case for a law change to parliament this week buoyed by California’s recent move to allow doctors to give fatal drugs to terminally ill patients.

    Former MP Maryan Street, a Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) committee member who drafted a bill that failed to reach the debate stage in Parliament, will present a submission on Wednesday to the health select committee which is holding a public inquiry into the issue. VES is awaiting a date to speak to the written submission it has lodged.

    California’s Governor Jerry Brown, 77, a Catholic who studied to be a priest as a young man, signed a bill on October 5 that will make physician-assisted dying legal in the state next year.

    California will become the fifth US state to allow terminally ill patients to take their lives with doctor prescribed drugs. With nearly 40 million people, it is America’s most populous state.

    Governor Brown said he consulted members of the Catholic Church, which is opposed to the measure, as well as physicians, before signing the measure.

    "In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death," he said. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn't deny that right to others."

    The state legislature approved a law change after Brittany Maynard, 29, who had an inoperable brain tumour, moved from her San Francisco home to Oregon, which allowed physician-assisted dying, to take her own life in November.

    “Brittany Maynard became a Facebook and Twitter sensation,” Dr Jack Havill, president of VESNZ, said on Sunday. “The world followed her blogs as she came to the end of her life. Now, her wish has come true – California, her home state, has a law similar to that of Oregon.

    “California is providing yet another example to the New Zealand Parliament as it considers the issues around physician assisted dying.”

    Further information: Dr Jack Havill  021-330-255

    Maryan Street 021-977-555

    Released by David Barber, VESNZ media adviser 021-072-8760

  • 07 Oct 2015 3:17 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    The family of Lecretia Seales are encouraged to keep fighting for assisted death in New Zealand after an American family successfully fought to have California state law changed to allow voluntary euthanasia.

    And the UK is the best place in the world to die, according to end-of-life care index. The upper echelons of the index are dominated by wealthy European, Asia-Pacificand north American countries. Australia is second, New Zealand third and Ireland and Belgium complete the top five.

  • 29 Sep 2015 3:40 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    Stuff Health examines "Opposing sides of the euthanasia debate." – 20 September 2015

    IOL News presents the debate over assisted suicide and palliative care. – 22 September 2015

    National Radio presents the story of Brittany Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer. She and her partner moved from California to Oregon so doctors could help her to end her own life. – 24 September 2015

    The Waikato Times suggests Last Cab to Darwin is not the real story of voluntary euthanasia  – it's "a much nicer story than the real-life story it is based on." – 26 September 2015 (watch the real story of Max Bell here)

    Image: Waikato Times

  • 16 Sep 2015 3:46 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    A while back we introduced Gina, a woman with an extreme genetic disorder. Through the powerful film below, Gina expresses her belief that she should have the right to choose if, and when, and how she might die.

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