The public campaign to get euthanasia legislation across the line has begun.

Act MP David Seymour and Matt Vickers, the latter whose wife Lecretia became a very public face of the fight, were on the steps of Parliament to launch what will unquestionably be an emotional business.

I admire Seymour's consistency. He seems to have defined his time in the house with this issue. Probably, ironically, to the detriment of his party's potential growth and success.

His private member's bill got pulled, so the next step is to get it to a select committee. If it gets there, the public get involved and that's where the heat is to be found.


There are certain issues, and euthanasia is right up the top of the list, that fire most of us up. We are one side or the other. There isn't a lot of of gray in euthanasia. Victoria's new legislation has changed the picture I guess; the Australian state is a very close and tangible example of what's possible, and I am sure that experience and result will be wheeled out more than once.

But ultimately, and here's your problem, this is all up to the politicians - and I'm not sure they're the right people for it.

As much as we may believe that Select Committee means something, it's limited. A committee might well have a welcome sign on the door, but the ears belong to people with agendas. More often than not, the submissions belong to a tried and true list of professionals who have been at the table before. It's not really a Mum and Dad sort of place, it's not really a town hall sort of vibe. In many respects, and call me sceptical, it's a charade. It's the illusion of democracy that on a good day may lead to some tinkering
or minor adjustment of whatever it is they're looking at. But if you're looking for numbers, percentages, representation of genuine community mood, then this isn't your forum.

Which is why it should probably go to a referendum.

The politicians, even on a conscience vote, don't vote on behalf of anyone. Especially given half of them don't even have electorates or anyone to actually represent. So if you want a measure of the NZ psyche, you've got to go direct. Tie it into an election for maximum turnout, make it binding and that really is the only way to truly tell what this country thinks.

If we don't do it this way, my guess is for those who want change, leaving it to the 120 in Wellington will lead to disappointment.