Which is more offensive, the outright lie or the falsehood masquerading as a half truth?

When it comes to the opinions offered by Garth McVicar of the Senselessness Injustice Bunch or Maggie Barry who prefers to be noted by her gong - ONZM - than by her job which is MP, it's Hobson's choice. To which the proper answer to their "take it or leave it" is "let's just leave it, shall we?"

McVicar is simply a gasbag whose oxygen comes from media attention to one of his outrageous end-of-the-earth pronouncements.

Read more: Jay Kuten: Choice in dying the final dignity
Jay Kuten: Lack of money means lack of freedom
Jay Kuten: Journey from acclaim to ignominy


His recent disparagement of scientific evidence as a basis for criminal justice policy is just one more example of his devolution to the workings of the reptilian brain in discard of all cerebration by reasoning.

Appealing strictly to emotion allows him to give support to restoration of public executions. That explains his near palpable excitement when police shot an armed but mentally disturbed person - "Saves money," says McVicar.

We all knew how instructive and valuable were his insights when he predicted the crime wave that would follow the legalisation of gay marriage. We're still waiting.

Maggie Barry seems to belong in another category. After all, she was the Garden Lady and that carries along with it a semblance of goodwill.

Now, however, she's just a politician on a mission to force cognitively competent sick suffering folks to die the way she wants them to, not the way they might choose.

That takes the bloom off the rose and, like any politician, she is liable to be a simple garden pest, in which case the garden gloves come off and the trowel of truth-telling gets applied.

Maggie is an implacable foe of the End of Life Choice Bill. She said weeks ago that no amount of amendation could change her opinion of the bill.

Apparently our local MP, Harete Hipango, is similarly directed but prefers to mask her opposition behind a need for the bill's unspecified amendation, very much like her opposition to medical cannabis.


As our MP, Ms Hipango needs to stand for something beyond her negativity.

Ms Barry, along with her fellow MP and former Catholic priest Simon O'Connor, does stand for something. It's the leanings of her religion, or at least the right wing of it, that they would impose on the rest of us ... by stealth.

Barry's anti-choice faction mis-states the wording and the terms of the bill, calling it the "controversial euthanasia and assisted suicide bill" when it's the End of Life Choice Bill.

Cherry-picking out terms and omitting the physician determination of eligibility for such important choice, they focus on the words "grievous, irremediable condition".

Next they claim a spurious championship of the so-called vulnerable - people with arthritis, dementia, and diabetes - whom they claim, falsely, would be subject to coercion through family or social pressure to end their lives. By tangling up this deceptive web, including a mention of elder abuse statistics, the anti-choice faction hope to invoke fear to dissuade supporters of End of Life Choice or to silence opposition.

Never mind that two of three conditions specified, arthritis and diabetes, are significantly treatable, hence not irremediable. And dementia patients are unqualified by virtue of the stringent test for competency.

This group will say anything to avoid giving people choice in the ending of their lives, which is the principal element of dignity left at that point.

Recall that Maggie and her lot did little or nothing when in power to ameliorate the lives of those "vulnerable" by putting money into proper medical care.

Now they want to institute mandatory palliative care to foreclose choice. That intention was stated here by palliative care doctor Jonathan Hartfield.

People with six months left to live would have to wait three months to apply for end of life choice. Barry's bill, with no provisions for tests for competency, allowing doctors to administer morphine for pain ("hasten death") is the door to real euthanasia. That's coercion for you.

■Jay Kuten is an American-trained forensic psychiatrist who emigrated to New Zealand for the fly fishing. He spent 40 years comforting the afflicted and intends to spend the rest afflicting the comfortable.