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Expert letter highlights risk of assisted dying increasing suicides​

Mental Health experts and researchers have written an open letter to MPs highlighting the risk of assisted dying increasing suicides. 

In the press release, spokesperson Dion Howard “says he has first-hand experience of his young clients using the same justifications for their suicidal inclinations as euthanasia advocates.”

“We feel a professional responsibility to present overseas statistical evidence regarding the relationship between assisted dying and suicide rates, the evidence is not conclusive because no-one has yet done the research and it is complex, but there is suggestive evidence which indicates that, over time, as the rates of assisted dying increase, there is a corresponding increase in suicide rates.”

“It’s a critical issue here in New Zealand because we have some of the highest suicide rates in the world, particularly for Māori, and they are still rising.”

The group want MPs to wait until more research is done before considering a law change.

“It is too risky to legislate for euthanasia or assisted suicide in New Zealand until evidence can show there’s no causal effect on New Zealand’s already high suicide levels.”

Read the letter here, and the press release here.

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MP Alfred Ngaro tables amendment to uphold principles of The Treaty of Waitangi in the euthanasia bill

There is no cookie cutter situation in a world with legalised euthanasia. Every patient is different, bringing their own concerns, views, background and support systems with them in any health decision they make. Integral to this is the patient’s cultural background.

Currently, nothing in the bill requires a medical practitioner, when dealing with Maori, to be culturally competent and carry out assessments in a way that considers Maori culture. Previously, David Seymour has said that cultural considerations and competencies are a serious issue, but has also stated it’s for the people to choose. MP Alfred Ngaro points out that such action is dismissive of real concern about the inequities Maori people face in the current health system. If this isn’t addressed in the euthanasia bill, the system won’t allow for the complexities of Maori language and culture, in assessing cases of euthanasia. Alfred Ngaro has tabled an amendment to the euthanasia bill to address this, by including a part on cultural considerations. This will ensure a practical commitment to uphold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi is cemented in law.

Watch MP Alfred Ngaro’s speech here.