About us

Our Alliance

We are the only organisation in New Zealand with the collective expertise – medical/health, disability, social advocacy, and ethics – that focuses on euthanasia, assisted suicide, and end of life care.

The dandelion represents our philosophy of unity within diversity. Just as many seeds make the whole flower, our member organizations make up our alliance. A symbol of endurance, growth, and the possibility of change, the ability of the dandelion to spread, take hold, and grow anywhere from its seeds symbolises what care can do. We just need to sow the seeds.

"Evidence-based approaches to end of life issues that draw on the experiences and expertise of our people."

Evidence

We use evidence-based approaches to inform our advocacy on end of life issues.

Experience

We have a range of individual and collective experience, including in advocacy and service provision.

Expertise

We have a range of expertise, including in medical and health care, ethics, and disability rights.

Our Vision

To have world-leading end of life care in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Specialist care

We promote palliative care as a specialist service that holistically cares for people with life-limiting medical conditions.

Equitable access

We advocate for equitable access to excellent end of life care to enable peaceful, pain-free and natural deaths.

Inclusive society

We’re working towards a society that values, supports, and includes people of all ages and abilities.

Our Mission

To become more informed, more capable, to provide better care.

Informed conversations

We aim to create more informed conversations about dying, death, and end of life care services in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Excellent care

We advocate for better end of life care and assisted living services for people at the end of life or who require assistance to live.

Responses to suffering

We believe that a compassionate and ethical response to suffering does not include euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

Our Milestones

Advocating for better care and conversations around dying since 2012.

The Care Alliance has been advocating for better end of life care and conversations around dying since its formation in 2012, at the time of Maryan Street’s End of Life Choice Bill. 

Our coalition, uniting a rich and diverse range of professional experiences and expertise, advocates that a compassionate and ethical responses to suffering does not include euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

What we've done along the way

2015

The Care Alliance was granted intervener status in the Seales v Attorney-General New Zealand High Court case in 2015. Individual experts from some of our member organizations also provided affidavits to inform the Court decision.

Click here to find out more.

2015

Doctors Say No is an Open Letter to New Zealanders that was launched by Wellington doctor Sinéad Donnelly, who is also a trustee of the Care Alliance. It is signed by New Zealand-registered medical doctors, rejecting the involvement of doctors in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Click here to find out more.

2015-17

petition organised by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) was presented to Parliament in June 2015 by former MP and VES President Maryan Street and Matt Vickers, the husband of Lecretia Seales. The petition requested an investigation by Parliament of public attitudes towards euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Health Select Committee then undertook an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand, including consultation through written and oral submissions with individuals and organizations.

Click here to find out more.

2017

10 Questions for David Seymour was a Care Alliance campaign run in July 2017 after David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill was drawn from the ballot box and introduced into Parliament. The aim was to educate MPs and the media about the implications of David Seymour’s Bill.

Click here to find out more.

2017-

The current focus of Care Alliance work is David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill, which seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in New Zealand. 

Click here to find out about the Bill and what we’re doing about it.

2017-19

The Justice Select Committee were tasked with consulting the public about the End of Life Choice Bill. With written submissions having closed in early March 2018,  oral submissions are being heard until the end of 2018. The Committee must then report back to Parliament with their findings no later than 27 March 2019.

Click here to find out more.

2018-19

icare is a major information campaign across digital platforms featuring short videos highlighting the risks and fallacies of the End of Life Choice Bill, running between December 2018 and March 2019. Twenty New Zealanders share their disability, palliative care, medical and legal perspectives to spark conversations, integrated with information resources, calls to action, and support opportunities.

Click here to find out more. 

Our Members

Diverse people unified in purpose.

Brought together by a single purpose, our members come from a range of backgrounds, combining a breadth, depth, and diversity of expertise and experience, including the following:

Medical & Health

Including specialists with experience in mental health and palliative care.

Disability

Including members with international experience advocating for disability rights.

Ethics

Including members who specialize in bioethical issues, particularly end of life.

Social Policy

Including members who have experience relating to social issues advocacy.

The Care Alliance trustees are John Kleinsman (Chair), Sinead Donnelly (Deputy Chair) and Michael Hallagan (Treasurer). The Secretary is Peter Thirkell.

The Australian & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine is a specialty medical society for medical practitioners who provide care for people with a life threatening illness.

(a) The discipline of Palliative Medicine does not include the practice of euthanasia or assisted suicide;

(b) ANZSPM endorses the World Medical Association Resolution on Euthanasia, adopted by the 53rd WMA General Assembly, Washington, DC, USA, October 2002, which states:

“The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and The World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.”

(c) ANZSPM opposes the legalisation of both euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Read their full position statement here.

Christian Medical Fellow New Zealand

Christian Medical Fellowship supports Christian doctors and medical students to be global citizens and support the work of medical missionaries.

“We believe that every individual should have the right to die with dignity with the availability of compassionate medical and nursing care that takes account of physical, mental and spiritual needs, so that the end of life is as peaceful as possible for the individual and his or her family. We also uphold the patient’s autonomy to refuse or discontinue treatment at any time.

We join the New Zealand Medical Association, the World Medical Association and many other medical societies across the world in strongly opposing Euthanasia and PAS, and instead advocating for the promotion and resourcing of good palliative care.”

Read their full position statement here.

Euthanasia-Free NZ Inc. is a nationwide network of individuals from diverse professional, social and philosophical backgrounds united in the belief that the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide poses a great threat to the wellbeing of our society. It is a member of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International.

“Nowhere in the world has legal assisted suicide and euthanasia been successfully contained and regulated. It’s impossible to put enforceable safeguards in place that would prevent coercion, pressure and abuse.

The illness and death of a loved one, and the grief process involved, can be an emotionally harrowing experience. Society needs to do everything possible to relieve such suffering. However, assisted suicide – making it legal for people to deliberately help others kill themselves – is not the solution.”

Find out more here.

Family First New Zealand is a registered charity that undertakes research and advocates for strong families and safe communities.

To legalise assisted suicide (euthanasia) would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.

Read their full position statement here.

Hospice New Zealand represents hospices around New Zealand to ensure that every New Zealander has access to quality palliative care.

“Hospice New Zealand does not support a change in the law to legalise assisted dying in any form. Nor do we consider that a change in the law would be in the best interests of the people we care for.

We believe Government should be investing in palliative care, increasing access to care and support not legalising euthanasia.”

Read their full position statement here.

Lutherans for Life was established in 1987 by the general Synod of the Lutheran Church to provide a way for Lutherans and their friends in Australia and New Zealand to learn about the need and responsibility to care deeply for people in all stages of life.

“What the Church’s opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide does mean is that its members have a special obligation to love and care for people who are suffering. This includes advocating for the best possible pain relief and palliative care.

Read their full position statement here.

The Nathaniel Centre was founded by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1999 to promote the study and practical resolution of ethical, social and legal issues arising out of medical and scientific research and practice.

“In spite of lawmakers’ best intentions, there are no adequate legal safeguards that can be put in place to protect vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, or those with disabilities should euthanasia or assisted-suicide be legalised.”

Find out more here.

The New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance is an incorporated society that advocates for freedom of conscience in health care.

“NZHPA believes that vulnerable people are at risk if euthanasia and assisted suicide is legalised. The frail, the elderly, the disabled and those with a terminal illness will feel pressure to request euthanasia out of fear of being a burden to their family and others.

NZHPA advocates for improved access to palliative care and hospice services. Excellence in palliative care, offered in the right way, at the right time, is what is needed to ease patients’ suffering.”

Read their full position statement here.

Not Dead Yet Aotearoa was formed in 2015 to be a focus for disabled peoples’ voices against euthanasia and PAS legislation. It is part of disability opposition world wide.

“If society says through the legalisation of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide that life with a severe disability is not worth living, there is also the real risk that the ‘right to die’ is seen for disabled people to be a ‘duty to die’ – pressuring us to ‘choose’ suicide over living a full life with a disability.”
 
Find out more here.

Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand was founded in 2006 as the only organisation in the country which represents nurses from all care settings who either work in or have an interest within the speciality of palliative care.

“PCNNZ, as a professional nursing group, believes assisted dying in any form is incongruent with the underlying ethos and practice of palliative care and nursing.:

Read their full position statement here.

The mission of The Salvation Army in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga is caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society through God in Christ by the Holy Spirit’s power.

“It is important to communicate by word and deed to the sick, the elderly and the dying that they remain worthy of respect, that they are loved and will not be abandoned to their suffering.

Respect for the dignity of human life demands quality care for all persons at the end of their lives. The Salvation Army therefore promotes access to palliative services that provide holistic care (physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual) when there is no longer medical hope for a cure. Optimal pain control and the overall comfort of the individual should be the primary goals of this care.”

Read their full position statement here.