Saturday's Chronicle made it front page news to seek out a few MPs and other candidates for the coming election, to ask how they intend to vote in next month's referendum on the End of Life Choice Act.
The story was titled The Euthanasia Debate even though the word euthanasia doesn't appear in the Act. It's a word that conjures up sad memories of our last trip to the vet with a much-loved dying pet which was unable to ask us to end its suffering.
We make that trip out of empathy and kindness, because our humanity enables us to imagine ourselves in our faithful friend's place; we know it would be cruel to allow that suffering to continue.
It's not surprising, then, that most of us think that same humanity should extend to all New Zealanders with surveys over the last 20 years showing that around 68 per cent of us have supported assisted dying. Our elected parliamentarians were representative of the population in voting 69 to 51 in favour at the bill's third and final reading.
Tight restrictions to ensure the assisted dying process is not abused appeared in a sidebar to the story and are at the government website www.referendums.govt.nz/endoflifechoice/index.html.
So how do Whanganui electorate candidates intend to vote in the referendum, with only five weeks until early voting starts?
Whanganui MP and shadow attorney general Harete Hipango seems to have been lying low, after National Party leader Judith Collins spent much of the previous week defending her in the media for an intemperate and shockingly misleading social media post on the March abortion legislation.
Collins seems to have given her a pass because "she's a very strong Catholic", so it's no surprise that she wants to deny the rest of us assistance to end our terminal suffering and voted No at the bill's final reading.
Meanwhile, Greens candidate Alan Clay is strongly in favour but Labour's Steph Lewis hasn't made up her mind. Māori Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe is a No, as is New Conservative candidate Jonathan Marshall, who lives in the New Plymouth electorate.
Re: MP's Ardern comment labelled 'silly stuff' (Chronicle, July 30):
It's not silly, and one doesn't need to be a woman or Catholic to acknowledge the fact. It is true that live children are born, and often born short of full term. If law lets life be terminated at any time short of natural birth, it's not silly to see it as killing the child.
We are shocked when we hear of death by violence, and so we should be, whether it's a child or adult or even an aged person. It is a shocking fact, and no one can change the truth by denying it.
Re letter (Chronicle, July 23) where Mr K A Benfell suggested President Trump could be blamed for the Tiwai Point smelter shutdown and the water shortage in Auckland.
This idea may gain traction after Trump's brilliant performance in his cognitive test. Who else could tell the difference between an "elephant and a duck"?