"It's not an easy read," David Barber warns.

"There are heart-breaking stories in this book which are written by friends and relatives who have watched their loved ones die horrible deaths."

Mr Barber, from Waikanae, along with retired intensive care specialist Dr Jack Havill, has compiled Dying Badly — New Zealand Stories.

The real-life stories are from a small number of the thousands of submissions to parliament's inquiry into the issue of assisted dying for the terminally ill.


He said the 93 page book, published by the End-of-Life Choice Society of New Zealand, illustrated the need for a compassionate change in the criminal law to allow medical assistance to die for those who choose to end their suffering safely and peacefully in a loving environment without risking a jail term for relatives and friends with them at the time.

"We want the law to change to allow people to die with dignity."

The stories were from a cross-section of society.

"They're heart-rending stories but they're stories that need to be told."

Mr Barber has a personal interest in voluntary euthanasia as he saw his wife Frances rapidly decline from Alzheimers disease.

"I knew Frances well and I know that she did not want to live in the condition and would have welcomed the ability to choose an end to her suffering had she retained her mental faculties," he earlier said before a health select committee inquiry into assisted dying.

He said the law change to allow voluntary euthanasia had to happen noting "every poll shows around 70 to 75 per cent of voters want a law change".

"It will happen — it's just a matter of when."


Moreover, as Dr Havill and Mr Barber said at the start of the book, "We are confident that in our time our compassionate society will demand that justice prevail and New Zealanders will acquire the ultimate human right of the 21st century — the right to die with dignity."

Copies of Dying Badly — New Zealand Stories are available from PaperPlus Coastlands, in Kapiti, or by going to either www.eolc.org.nz or yestodignity.org.nz