Replying to Melinda Bolton regarding the End of Life Choice Bill (letters, March 13): Ms Bolton gives us a handy summary of the weakest arguments against my bill.
She argues that legalising assisted dying would pave the way for involuntary euthanasia, pointing to the Netherlands. She gives no evidence to support this point, because there simply is none.
Ms Bolton does correctly note that there are instances of elder abuse in our community. I take these concerns seriously and believe my bill will help reduce elder abuse. Putting in place a highly-safeguarded legal protocol around assisted dying has to be better than what we have now.
At present, all sorts of end-of-life decisions are made about treatment, resuscitations and worse, with no safeguards whatsoever. My bill ensures patients' rights.
Perhaps the worst of Ms Bolton's arguments is that people with anorexia or severe depression might be able to request assisted dying. They would never qualify under the bill, which requires the person to have a condition that is grievous and irremediable, and be in an advanced state of decline.
They must also have the capacity to understand the decision they are making. A person with a serious psychological condition would never be deemed to have that capability.
Indeed, the purpose of this bill is to give people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying. It allows people who choose for themselves — and who are eligible under this bill — to end their lives in peace and dignity in a time and manner of their choosing, surrounded by loved ones.
If you'd like more information about what's in the bill, visit lifechoice.org.nz
Act Party Leader
I agree with Fiona Donne and her assessment of the wonders of Whanganui, and would like to add some of my own.
The first is the Summer Programme that covers the whole of January with an array of trips and talks.
The second is the fabulous Shakespeare at Bason Botanical Gardens. This year's The Tempest was an absolute credit to the director, performers and backstage folk. The third is the Arts Review at the Sarjeant on the Quay, running currently until mid-May.
Recent visitors from out-of-town there were marvelling at the breadth of artistic talent our Wonderful Whanganui has to offer.
As a European male, I am appalled by the racist/genderist comment made by Whanganui district councillor Helen Craig in relation to the name change proposed by council for Queen's Park.
I am sure that all the women and children who trekked or sailed in open cutters from Wellington to settle in Petre on the banks of the Knowsley River would be appalled to hear themselves being called "white men".
I'm sure the descendants of Mrs Gilfillan and her children, who were brutally murdered, would not approve of her being lost in history by this misandrist comment.
Councillor Craig should publicly retract her statement and, at the next election, seriously consider her suitability to represent the ratepayers of Whanganui.
As for the Queen's Park name change, I am ambivalent to the idea. However, I do agree with the comments by the mayor of Hamilton, who said that this was not the time for this type of thing and that the money would better be spent to improve the services supplied by council.
It is hoped that our B+ mayor, before any consultation takes place, provides ratepayers with a full and accurate cost of this proposal. Queen's Park is the location of our War Memorial Centre, museum and art gallery, which will also need stationery, signage and web changes.
Maybe if the mayor and councillors spent more on core services and less on "fantasy" projects, they might be able to live up to their 2 per cent rates increase promise. This type of expenditure is better left for when the coffers are full, debt is manageable and rates rises align with inflation.
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