IT is with dismay that I read today (Chronicle, May 8) that only $3 million of the $10 million raised has so far been distributed by Victim Support to the victims of the mosque attacks on March 15.

Once the Givealittle page was closed, the full amount of $10 million should have been given to the Christchurch Muslim Community from the two mosques concerned for the elders of the mosque community to distribute the funds as required.

To have Victim Support drip-feed the funds is adding another layer of hurt to those families who lost their sole breadwinner and to those who have had to stop work in order to care for family members injured in the attacks. Unfortunately, Victim Support head office is showing the signs of "control", which is another nail in the coffin of what was once a very relevant service provided by volunteers in the communities.

MICHAEL ANDREWS
Interim chairman, Local Group Committee, Victim Support Taihape/Waiouru

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Uneducated view

In response to Terry Sarten (Chronicle, May 4), I found this a very uneducated look at a very complicated issue.

For him to say, "This legislation lets Government off the hook as it is cheaper to allow individuals this end-of-life choice than to provide best practice end-of-life care" flies in the face of the number of MPs who oppose it — in both major parties. And also against the hard stand made by Palliative Care NZ.

He goes on to show, without any doubt in my mind, that this issue is one he has not looked into in any great depth. If he had, he would know that the statement "there are well-researched existing models of palliative care that do provide quality of life and dignity in death for those with terminal conditions" goes against reports done by overseas palliative care groups, which clearly acknowledge that 6-10 per cent of patients die in pain that they are unable to help.

I acknowledge that he probably saw both a family member and a friend of the family die in line with their wishes and needs under palliative care, but they were, fortunately, not in that 6-10 per cent of people this bill is designed to help.

As someone with terminal cancer (with a history showing I am in that 6-10 per cent with regard to pain relief), and under my local palliative care — here is your patient's voice, so that it's not missed.

If this bill were in place now, I would be able to enjoy the time I have left to live without having to worry about what the future holds for me as I come to the end of my life. Knowing I could have a peaceful death when it all gets too much, pain-wise, would take a lot of stress off me.

I suggest he go back to writing about what he knows about, and leave this issue to those of us who have made the time to learn all the details about it, both here and around the world.

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Oh, and on a final note. Where assisted dying legislation is in place, it has shown the palliative care in those areas has improved considerably, so this bill would help there.

ESTHER RICHARDS
Tauranga


Familiar red herrings

Terry Sarten (May 4) opposes the EOLC bill, throwing out familiar red herrings and dire forebodings. Relief from stress and suffering at the end of our lives a "wealthy, Western nation construct".

Really? Tell that to the vast majority of New Zealanders who indicate, in poll after poll, their support for this bill.

Why? Because they have witnessed the harrowing deaths of family and friends and know what a Hospice physician confirmed, that 6 per cent of patients in hospice care suffer extreme pain at the end of their lives — palliative treatment is not always enough.

In not one of the 21 (with more in the pipeline) democratic countries and states allowing physician-assisted dying have their people asked to have the clock turned back.

Only Terry Sarten can explain to us why he is so vigorously advocating for his fellow New Zealanders to experience extreme and unnecessary pain at the end of their lives.

PATRICIA BUTLER
Nelson


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