Media Releases

Media Contact

For all media inquiries, please contact the Care Alliance Secretary. 

8 July 2020

Not Dead Yet Aotearoa: Act Party euthanasia attack on Disability Rights Commissioner “desperate

In their haste to prove that ‘choice’ to kill oneself means only what they want it to
mean, and to nobble the Disability Rights Commissioner’s (DRC) opposition, the
ACT party has tied itself into knots.

ACT’s deputy leader Brook Van Velden fired up, following a TV segment on Monday with Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero about the End of Life Choice (euthanasia) Act 2019. 

NDYA regards this error-ridden attempt to discredit any disabled people’s opposition to this badly written law as unscrupulous electioneering. We are more inclined to listen to the well-informed and legally-qualified Disability Rights Commissioner appointed by the Crown than to desperate errors and the misconceptions of a political party aiming at votes.

Read the full release.

14th November 2019

Euthanasia Bill Heads to Public Referendum

Yesterday evening, MPs voted by a majority of 69 to 51 to send David Seymour’s Bill to a public referendum at the next election.

Spokesperson for the Care Alliance, Dr Peter Thirkell, said that, while he is personally disappointed by the result, there is still a way to go before the Act becomes law. “There is a lot of work to be done to help people to understand the complexities and risks associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide. Parliament has issued a challenge to the general public – the responsibility now lies with all of us.”

“The Care Alliance, with all of its expert member organisations, is committed to being part of that information process – this is not the end but the start of another phase. Our overwhelming experience is that the more people know about euthanasia, the less they like it.”

“There are particular flaws with this Bill, such as the weakness of the review committee process and a lack of effective safeguards to protect people from coercion and detecting depression. This is not the triumph for compassion and choice that some people claim. We will work hard to provide high quality, evidence-based information, in particular highlighting the many problems that have been experienced internationally. There are many good reasons for the public to vote this Bill down at referendum.”

Read the full release.

1st August 2019

Grave task awaits MPs as they debate the End of Life Choice Bill

“David Seymour’s proposed changes to the End of Life Choice Bill, a Bill he himself previously described as ‘very tight’, amount to an admission that the introduction of euthanasia is in fact highly risky,” says Dr Peter Thirkell, spokesperson for the Care Alliance.

One of the primary concerns of the Care Alliance is whether the safeguards which are part of the Bill can provide effective protection to the many groups of vulnerable people who will be affected by a law change.

“What is at stake here is nothing less than the possibility of wrongful deaths. Allowing a small number of persons the ‘choice’ to be assisted to end their lives has to be balanced against the harm it would do to much greater numbers of people who would not otherwise choose this option but who might find themselves coerced to do so. Our opposition to the legalisation of euthanasia is based on compassion for all those who would be adversely affected, whose lives would be placed at risk.”

Read the full release.

25th June 2019

Multiple Reasons to vote End of Life Choice Bill down

The Care Alliance urges MPs to carefully consider the multiple risks of voting through the Second Reading of the End of Life Choice Bill this Wednesday and instead vote the bill down, says Care Alliance Secretary Dr Peter Thirkell.

“The End of Life Choice Bill raises serious public safety issues for all New Zealanders, putting many lives at risk by creating new opportunities for abuse and coercion.”

“Disabled people are at risk in the Bill and they cannot simply be written out of it. Many disabled people live constantly in the shadow of terminal conditions. The real-life experience of disabled people shows that many with serious and obvious disabilities tend to be thought of by medical practitioners as having reached a final stage prematurely.”

“The proposed Bill also compels doctors to act against their long-standing ethical standard that physician assisted suicide and euthanasia remain unethical even if they were made legal. Doctors are not necessary in the regulation or practice of assisted suicide and are included only to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy.”

“Public safety and protection of the vulnerable rather than personal choice must be the paramount consideration in this Bill. Tougher safeguards may make the practice safer, but they cannot make it safe enough.”

“Parliament has a duty to ensure that the degree of safety built into legislation matches the gravity of the risk. The gravity of the risk in the euthanasia bill is wrongful death. One single wrongful death is one too many.”

Read the full release.

17th April 2019

Doctors’ Open Letter Gets 1,000th Signature

The ‘Doctors Say No’ Open Letter opposing euthanasia has received its 1,000th signature.

Organiser Dr Sinead Donnelly, a Wellington-based Palliative Medicine specialist, says she is humbled by the response.

The Open Letter states that ‘Doctors want no part in assisted suicide’, noting the World Medical Association and the New Zealand Medical Association positions that “physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are unethical, even if they were made legal.”

Dr Donnelly says that David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill “only includes doctors to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy.  Killing is not caring.  It does not require any medical skills, it just requires the abandonment of medical ethics.”

She has a simple message to Members of Parliament as they approach the Bill’s Second Reading in May: “If you are really determined to legalise euthanasia, find another profession to do it.  Please leave doctors out of it so that we can focus on caring for our patients.”

Read the full release.

9th April 2019

End of Life Choice Bill should be withdrawn immediately

Peter Thirkell, Secretary of the Care Alliance, has welcomed the Justice Select Committee’s statement that the End of Life Choice Bill “is not workable in its present state”.

“Mr Seymour should withdraw his bill immediately. It is simply not feasible for MPs to try to ‘fix’ the bill during the Committee of the Whole House stage, as that would deny New Zealanders their right to have a say on different proposals.”

“We are opposed to euthanasia in any form, but we are particularly worried about the unintended consequences of rushed ill-considered law in an area as fraught as this.”

Dr Thirkell added that “If Mr Seymour won’t do the right thing, then Parliament should recognise that this Bill is simply not fit for purpose, and resoundingly defeat it at Second Reading.”

Read the full release.

31 March 2019

Over 90% of record number of submissions oppose End of Life Choice Bill

Analysis of 38,707 submissions to the Justice Select Committee shows that over 90 percent opposed David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill. Peter Thirkell, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said the 38,707 submissions were a record for any bill before the House, ”and critically they were unique rather than ‘postcard’ or ‘form’ submissions.”

Care Alliance volunteers read every submission to record views on the bill, the views of important sub-groups such as medical practitioners, the length of the submission, and whether or not religious arguments were used by the submitter.

“We hope that the members of the Justice Select Committee will demonstrate respect for the mountain of evidence showing that legalising euthanasia is unnecessary, unwise and dangerous.”

Read the full release.

10 Dec 2018

Multiple risks of legalising euthanasia

The icare campaign features 24 short videos of disability advocates, doctors, nurses and a lawyer talking about why euthanasia is unnecessary, unsafe and unwise. Carried across multiple digital platforms, the campaign aims to inform New Zealanders who have questions ahead of the End of Life Choice Bill’s Second Reading in 2019.

Read the full release.

10 Dec 2018

Significant increase in opposition to euthanasia

Dr Thirkell said that the increase in both the number of submissions and the proportion opposed to euthanasia is highly significant. “What we are seeing is that the more people know about euthanasia the less they like it.” As of 7 December, just over 26,000 submissions have been uploaded to the Parliamentary website, of which Care Alliance volunteers have so far read, analysed and coded 20,000. Dr Thirkell says that a final report will be issued once Parliamentary Services staff finish uploading all the submissions.

Read the full release.

16 Nov 2018

Questions Remain for Justice Select Committee

While more than 36,000 unique written submissions were received – an unprecedented number in the history of New Zealand politics – only 20,231 have so far been uploaded to the Parliament website. What has happened to the others?

Just as important, has anyone (MPs or officials) actually read all of the submissions? Have officials prepared an analysis of the submissions, and what does it say? (Spoiler alert: the Care Alliance has analysed 14,300 submissions so far, and it’s running at more than 90 percent opposed.)

Read the full release.

13 Jun 2018

New Zealand must place care over fear

The euthanasia commission of Belgium’s upper house voted on 20 January 2001 in favour of proposed euthanasia legislation that would make euthanasia no longer punishable by law, provided certain requirements were met. 

On 25 October 2001, Belgium’s senate approved the proposed law by a significant majority: 44 for, 23 against, 2 abstentions and 2 senators who failed to register a vote. On 22 May 2002 the Belgian House of Representatives passed the Act Concerning Euthanasia (2002). This legislation came into force on 23 September 2002.

Read the full release.

20 Mar 2018

Landmark Canadian court case proves euthanasia safeguards aren't there

“The Canadians haven’t had their law for very long and yet already we can see that the idea of choice is a myth – real choices are not available for patients to be assisted to live,” says Dr Thirkell. “This is happening in the same country that David Seymour calls “advanced” with a law that he points to as an example to be followed.”

“Mr Foley’s case highlights the substantial dangers that people with disability and serious chronic and life-limiting medical conditions will face if Mr Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is passed.”

Read the full release.

21 Feb 2018

New Zealanders' right to democratic process​

“It’s important that the Justice Committee recognises that every voice counts in what is meant to be a democratic process,” says Dr Thirkell, “and that the process should be open, accessible and equitable.”

“Providing early access to all submissions on the website can only help to better inform everyone about the issues at stake in this Bill. We’ve found that the more people get to know about it, the less they like it.”

Read the full release.

13 Dec 2017

Care Alliance welcomes upcoming debate on EOLC Bill

“We look forward to a full and robust consultation,” says Care Alliance spokesperson Dr Peter Thirkell. “We will be putting our efforts into the Select Committee process and showing the bill up for all of its flaws.”

Read the full release.

23 Nov 2017

Care Alliance highlights folly of Victoria euthanasia decision

“We look forward to a full and robust consultation,” says Care Alliance spokesperson Dr Peter Thirkell. “We will be putting our efforts into the Select Committee process and showing the bill up for all of its flaws.”

Read the full release.

2 Aug 2017

Care Alliance welcomes Health Select Committee Report​

“The Committee received nearly 22,000 unique written submissions and heard nearly 1,000 oral submissions,” said Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance. “While eighty percent of those submissions were opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia, the report is a careful and thorough summary of both sides of the issue.”

Read the full release.

12 Jul 2017

Care Alliance launches 'Ten Questions for David Seymour' Campaign​

“Mr Seymour’s bill is an extreme version of a very bad idea,” said Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance. “All New Zealanders need to examine it critically, especially Members of Parliament who might be asked to debate it soon.”

Mr Jansen said the Ten Questions would be progressively released over the next two weeks.

Read the full release.

2 Jun 2017

Euthanasia advocates' survey still shabby, still wrong

“Their latest paper cannot overcome those flaws,” said Mr Jansen. He noted that a critique of the research by eight highly-qualified medical, social and ethics experts last year concluded that ‘The myriad flaws in the survey’s design, data selection, interpretation and reporting mean this research paper is of little or no value in understanding New Zealand doctors’ and nurses’ attitudes towards legalising “assisted dying”.’

Read the full release.

5 May 2017

Health Select Committee: 77% Oppose Euthanasia

“Quite simply, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society were able to get 8,975 signatures on a petition, but could muster less than half that number in actual submissions,” said Mr Jansen. “By contrast, 16,411 people took the opportunity to say no to euthanasia.”

Click here to read the full analysis.

Read the full release.

15 Dec 2016

Maryan Street should unequivocally reject ExitAction​

The Care Alliance has called on Maryan Street, President of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, to unequivocally and immediately reject Philip Nitschke’s plan to launch ExitAction in New Zealand.

Read the full release.

22 Sep 2016

Hague just treated 21,435 New Zealanders with contempt

“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.”

Read the full release.

19 Sep 2016

Belgian child euthanized: what do New Zealand advocates say?

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.”

Read the full release.

13 Sep 2016

Care Alliance to appear before Health Select Committee

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.

Read the full release.

12 Aug 2016

Officials should provide full analysis of public submissions

“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.”

Read the full release.

10 May 2016

Euthanasia research paper is a "shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning"

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.

Read the full release.

22 Apr 2016

Canada shows that assisted suicide is a cliff

Dr Kleinsman says the Canadian experience shows there is no logical limit once you start legalising assisted suicide. “Taking the single, fateful step of believing that assisting suicide is a legitimate response to suffering puts you in free fall. You simply cannot withhold it from some if you allow it for others.”

Read the full release.

6 Jan 2016

Researcher to speak at euthanasia conference

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said that “before she takes the international stage, Dr Oliver should explain to the New Zealand doctors and nurses who participated in her survey exactly what she meant by ‘independent’. I believe that she had an obligation to inform participants that she is, in fact, an advocate of legalising assisted suicide.”

Read the full release.

5 Jan 2016

Matt Vickers to speak at Euthanasia 2016 conference

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?”

Read the full release.

9 Dec 2015

Doctors say no to assisted suicide

“Killing someone does not require any medical training,” she says. “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.”

Read the full release.

20 Oct 2015

Euthanasia research funded by taxpayers

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.”

Read the full release.

9 Oct 2015

NZ ranked third best in world for palliative care

New Zealand is the third best in 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.

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

Read the full release.

18 May 2015

An open letter to Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Perhaps you could be specific about which overseas jurisdiction you believe has the right model for New Zealand. Is it Oregon, where a quarter of the lethal prescriptions issued in 2013 were unaccounted for? Or the Netherlands, where 97 people with dementia and 42 people with mental illnesses were euthanized in 2013? Possibly Belgium, where 45-year old deaf twins were euthanized in 2013 because they were also going blind?

Read the full release.

20 Mar 2014

Broad Alliance launches to oppose legalizing euthanasia

The Alliance was established in 2012 in opposition to the poorly written, confusing and flawed End of Life Choice Bill proposed by a Labour List MP which has since been withdrawn following political pressure.

“As long as there is a political intent to legalise euthanasia in New Zealand, we need to be vigilant. The Care Alliance will oppose any efforts to legalise euthanasia or assisted-suicide,” said Care Alliance co-founder Maggie Barry.

Read the full release.