Media releases

Kevin Hague just treated 21,435 New Zealanders with utter contempt, 22 September 2016

 

“Kevin Hague just treated 21,435 New Zealanders with utter contempt,” says Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance. “On 23 June 2015 Mr Hague stood on the steps of Parliament to receive a petition asking for an investigation of public attitudes into assisted dying.”

“A record 21,435 people answered the call of the Health Select Committee for public submissions. But Mr Hague now says that the Green Party doesn’t need to listen to those views. He’s made up his mind, that’s good enough for him, and there’s nothing that anyone can say to change it.”

“It is an appalling breach of trust of all those New Zealanders, for and against, who took the time and effort to contribute their views.”

 

Belgian child euthanased: what do New Zealand advocates say?, 18 September 2016

 

The Care Alliance is calling on all New Zealand advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide – including David Seymour MP, Maryan Street and Matt Vickers – to declare whether they support the euthanasia of a child in Belgium last week.

It is the first confirmed such death since Belgium removed all age restrictions on euthanasia in 2014.

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said the death was tragically predictable “because once you normalise the idea of euthanasia, there is no logical place to draw the line. New Zealanders urgently deserve to know whether the people advocating for a law change here think Belgium has got it right or got it wrong.”

 

Care Alliance to appear before Health Select Committee, 13 September 2016

 

The Care Alliance will make its oral submission to the Health Select Committee’s investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand on Wednesday 14 September.

Matthew Jansen, the Secretary of the coalition of groups opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide, said that he is looking forward to the opportunity to explain why euthanasia is unnecessary and dangerous.

“While we only have 15 minutes to present, I am looking forward to highlighting some of the key issues that the Select Committee will need to consider in their investigation into the desire to end one’s life,” he said.

 

Health Select Committee officials should provide full analysis of public submissions, 12 August 2016

 

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, has called on Health Select Committee officials to provide a full analysis of the public submissions received in response to Maryan Street’s petition.

The Office of the Clerk reported this week that it is has already processed 21,435 submissions, with more than 1,800 people asking to appear in person when public hearings start later this month.

“One analysis shows that more than three-quarters of submissions are against the legalisation of euthanasia.  Equally important is that the vast majority are unique rather than form submissions.“

“The real story is that the silent majority are finding their voice on this issue, and are refusing to be told how they are supposed to think by a small group of euthanasia advocates.”

Mr Jansen said that a proper analysis of the submissions would be helpful for politicians and the media to understand the real attitudes of the public.  “This is an unprecedented response to a parliamentary inquiry, and it runs completely counter to the narrative peddled by Ms Street and others. The New Zealand public deserves a full analysis of this extraordinary result.”

Govt-funded euthanasia research paper is a “Shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning”, 10 May 2016

 

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, has questioned the value of a Government-funded study by University of Auckland researchers Phillipa Malpas and Pam Oliver into attitudes of New Zealand doctors and nurses to the legalisation of so-called ‘assisted dying’.

Last year Mr Jansen revealed that survey participants were not being told that Drs Malpas and Oliver were members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, or that the study was being funded by the Health Research Council.

“The paper they are now distributing is a shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning” said Mr Jansen. “Their paper slices and dices the numbers in ways that are highly misleading to a casual reader. For example, a small print footnote says that responses from people who ‘strongly disagreed’ with legalising assisted dying were excluded from subsequent analysis. The views of 175 doctors and nurses suddenly disappear from consideration by that sleight of hand alone. That is why their statement that 37 percent of doctors ‘strongly or mostly’ agree with legalising ‘assisted dying’ is simply untrue.”

Mr Jansen also noted that the authors say the survey was anonymous, but then disclose that four days’ worth of responses were removed ‘due to notice of two faked responses by a TVNZ journalist’.  “Either it was anonymous or it wasn’t,” said Mr Jansen. “In fact, how do they know that any of the responses were done by doctors and nurses, and only done once per person?”

Mr Jansen said the report should be approached with intense scepticism. He noted, for example, the suggestion in figure 13 that 7.7 percent of doctors have hastened death by administering or supplying a lethal dose of medication is grossly misleading. “First, it is 12 out of 155 doctors, not the 368 doctors who completed the survey. Secondly, it appears to include medication given with the intention of relieving pain but that may have the effect of hastening death, which is standard, legal and ethical treatment right now.”

“Once again the euthanasia lobby is showing that it cannot be trusted with data and facts,” said Mr Jansen. “It’s all about scaring up some headlines, and hoping nobody digs deeper.  This whole taxpayer-funded exercise has been a shambles from beginning to end.”

 

Matt Vickers to speak at Euthanasia 2016 conference, 5 January 2016

 

Matt Vickers will speak at the Euthanasia 2016 conference in Amsterdam in May this year.

Mr Vickers is scheduled to speak in the ‘Campaign’ programme of the conference alongside George Eighmey from Oregon.

Mr Eighmey, a former Oregon House Representative and director of Compassion & Choices, sparked controversy in 2003 when he said that the top reason for people requesting assisted suicide was “I don’t want to have anyone wipe my rear end”.

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said that Mr Vickers’ attendance at the conference “shows what a slippery slope the so-called ‘right to die’ really is. The Dutch organisers of the conference are currently campaigning for everybody over the age of 70 to have access to a ‘suicide pill’ as a matter of right. Will Mr Vickers be speaking for or against such a law change here?”

 

Doctors say no to assisted suicide, 9 December 2015

 

New Zealand doctors are being invited to add their name to an Open Letter rejecting medical involvement in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Open Letter – published online at www.doctorssayno.nz – has been launched by Wellington doctor Sinead Donnelly, who is also a trustee of the Care Alliance.

“Killing someone does not require any medical training,” she said. “If Parliament did decide to introduce assisted suicide – and I sincerely hope they do not – they should choose another profession to do it. Doctors are only included to give this bad idea a cloak of medical legitimacy.”

The Open Letter endorses the World Medical Association and New Zealand Medical Association statements that it is unethical for doctors to be involved in assisted suicide and euthanasia, even if they were made legal.

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said that awareness of the problems of assisted suicide was growing around the world. “Just last week, Justice Michel Pinsonnault of the Quebec Superior Court ruled that ‘medical aid in dying’ is simply a euphemism for euthanasia.”

“It’s time for plain speaking on this issue,” said Mr Jansen. “I am deeply grateful to the doctors who have already signed up to the Open Letter, and encourage others to follow their lead.”

 

Euthanasia Research Funded By Taxpayers, 19 October 2015

The government’s Health Research Council is funding euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) research, according to documents released to the Care Alliance under the Official Information Act.

The research, conducted by Dr Phillipa Malpas and Dr Pam Oliver, is the subject of complaints to the University of Auckland’s Human Participants Ethics Committee.

Matthew Jansen, spokesperson for the Care Alliance, says “It is appalling that the HRC is funding a lopsided survey that is intended to help draft legislation to kill people.”

Mr Jansen also highlighted the University of Auckland’s role in providing ethics approval for the research. “Two reviewers specifically noted that Dr Malpas is an advocate of euthanasia and assisted suicide, but they then failed to make sure that participants were told.”

“Drs Malpas and Oliver did not tell the Ethics Committee at the outset that they are members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and they went on to tell survey participants that they are ‘independent’.”

“In reality they are using public funds for a private campaign.”

He says there are many other serious deficiencies in the survey which mean it should never have been approved. “They have even cited Wikipedia as a source of information for survey participants, for goodness sake. That’s an insult to the academic integrity of the University.”

Mr Jansen has written to the Chair of the University of Auckland’s Human Participants Ethics Committee asking for its approval to be suspended until the deficiencies are corrected.

 

NZ Ranked Third Best In World For Palliative Care, 9 October 2015

New Zealand is the third best country in the world for palliative care, according to a new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The United Kingdom and Australia are ranked first and second respectively, and Ireland is fourth. The United States is ninth.

The report considered data in five categories to decide an overall Quality of Death Index:

  • Palliative and healthcare environment
  • Human resources
  • Affordability of care
  • Quality of care
  • Community engagement

Matthew Jansen of the Care Alliance says the report shows that New Zealanders can have confidence that high-quality palliative care is available “but there is no room for complacency as our population ages. New Zealand can improve its performance further with extra government funding, as well as more training for the palliative care workforce we will need in the future.”

Click here to view The 2015 Quality of Death Index: Ranking palliative care across the world

 

Care Alliance Welcomes Health Select Committee’s Terms of Reference, 27 August 2015

The Care Alliance has welcomed the Health Select Committee’s terms of reference for considering a petition from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

Spokesperson Matthew Jansen says that the terms of reference will allow all New Zealanders to be involved in considering what society’s response should be to people who express a wish to end their lives. “We believe that the best compassionate response to a person experiencing physical, emotional or psychological suffering is to surround them with love and provide them with the best possible care. Legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) would give exactly the wrong message to vulnerable people feeling overwhelmed by their circumstances.”

Mr Jansen said that the recent Research New Zealand poll, which recorded a sharp drop in support for EAS following the Seales v Attorney-General case, showed that a more informed debate helps expose the practical problems with EAS. “The Select Committee can do all New Zealanders a great service by investigating the complex issues involved in suicide. We believe the evidence will show that EAS is both unnecessary and dangerous.”