Yesterday, New Zealand ushered in a law that will forever impact our country, and especially those who are vulnerable. “The ‘End of Life Choice Act’ is fraught with peril,” says New Conservative spokeswoman for Life, Leao Tildsley.
The End of Life Choice Act debate gave people the perception that they would be able to die with dignity, but there are many things about this Act being passed that remain very concerning.
The fact that there is no stand down period from the time of the request of the lethal drug to its administration. The only delay between request and death is the 48 hours required for the registrar to check the paperwork.
Determining how long someone has to live is often inaccurate – predicting a life expectancy of six months is difficult and often people live longer than expected. A study of doctors’ prognoses (the medical prediction of the course of a disease over time) for terminally ill patients found that only 20% of predictions were accurate.
Neither does the process ensure family, friends or whānau are aware of the request. For our Māori and Pasifika communities, collective group decision making is very important. Under this Act, a person’s loved ones may not be aware of a request for euthanasia. There is no opportunity to address the underlying factors which motivate the request – such as unresolved physical or emotional pain, fear of being a burden, depression, or feeling isolated.
New Conservative, while continuing to oppose this Act and deeply regretting its passing, will also continue to call for new ways to deliver efficient and practical age-care. Many New Zealanders hold serious concerns about age-care in New Zealand. We believe that our elderly should be treated with dignity, receiving the best possible care available.
We will also continue to demand palliative care of the highest quality is available and supported to protect our elderly and most vulnerable from abuse and pain, and now as an alternative to unnecessary premature death.
Leao Tildsley, New Conservative Spokeswoman for Life