When Lecretia Seales found out she was dying she made a remarkable choice to mount a legal challenge for the right to choose to end her life with medical assistance.

The policy adviser at the Law Commission was only just into her 40s when it became clear that the cancer aggressively attacking her brain would induce gradual paralysis before a painful death.

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Euthanasia: Should we be able to choose when to die?

She went public in March last year - but she was no militant. She willingly admitted ending her life with medical help was not a cast iron decision.


"But I want the right to choose," she told the Weekend Herald at the time. "That would give me comfort if I knew that [option] was there. I don't know whether I necessarily would ... "

Seales' legal bid was ultimately unsuccessful. A judge ruled that only Parliament could make such a decision.

She died in June a few days after that ruling but it galvanised opponents on either side of the argument and spurred debate which now winds itself towards our lawmakers.

New Zealanders have just a week left to voice their opinions on voluntary euthanasia and whether it should be considered under law.

It is not an easy subject. The very term we use to understand the process is altered - and sometimes manipulated - to serve a purpose. Euthanasia, assisted dying, suicide.

On one hand it is considered a fundamental human right. On the other, a fundamental challenge to human dignity.

The Herald chose Seales as its 2015 New Zealander of the Year. It was a choice that angered some who felt the newspaper had positioned itself in favour of voluntary euthanasia.

That was not the case. The recognition was for her bravery and inspiration in sharing something so personal and private for the advancement of something she believed in.

It is one of the most difficult questions of our age but one that needs to be asked and considered.

Seales' widow Matt Vickers has continued the battle she started. After her death he used a press conference to address Prime Minister John Key directly.

"This debate needs to happen now," he said. "I urge you to give the public what they want and start the debate."

Public feedback to Parliament's health select committee closes on February 1. In a little over a week, the chance to have a say will be gone.

Regardless of the opinion - or the outcome - it would be to our shame to choose not to contribute to that debate.