When the result came through yesterday, I was overcome with a sense of relief. After such a long time, my late wife's story had come to a close. And the conclusion that I hoped for, the one in which Lecretia ultimately achieved what she set out to do and helped change the law, finally came to pass.
Lecretia can rest now, and frankly, so can I.
This law is five years too late to help my late wife, but with this change, people who are confronted with a terminal illness, where they may have nothing to look forward to but pain and suffering, finally have a choice. They can choose to exert control over a situation where all other control is lost.
Today, more than ever, I am incredibly proud to be a New Zealander.
This law, which at first glance is about how people die, is actually a law about how we live.
We can choose to exist in a world where life is something that just happens to us, and we are merely pawns of fate. Or we can choose to live in a world where life is what we make it.
I have learned, through Lecretia's example, and through my own grief and loss, that it is better to live in a world where life is embraced, happiness and fulfilment pursued, and suffering is minimised. A world where things like David Seymour's End of Life Choice Act exist.
This law enables terminally ill people to live the life they want to until their last day. When everything else has been taken away from them, empowering them with this decision is the kindest thing we can do.
Some people, perhaps a third of us, will worry about what this law means. Between now and this time next year, the Ministry of Health will have the responsibility of clarifying any absent details. They will implement the details of the policies and procedures that are outlined in the act, ensuring the right balance of safety and access.
For most of us, life will go on as normal. Nothing will change. We'll live full, rich lives, work hard, and provide for our families. We'll go to school, we'll go to church, fall in love, and raise children. We'll pursue our dreams and chase our hearts' desires. And hopefully, we will never need to concern ourselves with the End of Life Choice Act again.
Sadly, some of us will get ill. Some of us will get so ill that the choice to live is no longer a choice that we have. I didn't think that would happen to me or Lecretia. But it did. And for people who find themselves in situations like Lecretia's, I hope that the End of Life Choice Act will provide some comfort. That during their last days, if things become intolerable to them, they can know they have options. And that they can be assured that their life is still their own.
Thank you New Zealand for endorsing this law. Thank you for helping me end this story in such a gratifying way. And thank you for voting Yes for End of Life Choice.