NZ Herald Opinion column: We need to be told what euthanasia would really mean

by Matthew Jansen, New Zealand Herald, 23 September 2016

Mr Jansen, the Secretary of the Care Alliance, was given the opportunity to respond to a column by Matt Vickers in the New Zealand Herald on 21 September.

Matt Vickers has never met me, but that didn’t stop him from calling me “vile”, accusing me of “moral righteousness” and the “crime” of “staggering arrogance” in this page on Wednesday. What prompted such a reaction?

Last Sunday, in response to news that a 17-year-old had been euthanised in Belgium, I issued a media release. It challenged New Zealand euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates to say what they thought about the euthanasia of minors.

I wrote that “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”.

I think that’s a pretty fair question. Especially as in 2013 Maryan Street, then an MP and now president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said “Application for children with terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time. That might be something that may happen in the future, but not now.”

Vickers himself sidestepped the question by saying that “my support or otherwise is irrelevant” but went on to say “There is certainly a case for broader laws”.

New Zealanders deserve to be told straight up what we’re in for. We deserve to hear what the law change advocates really want rather than what they think is politically palatable at the moment. We deserve to hear where this is going, and not just where it begins.

This is an incredibly important debate for all of us. The Care Alliance will continue to respectfully and unapologetically present the argument that euthanasia and assisted suicide is unnecessary and dangerous.

Click here to read the full article.