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  • 19 Nov 2015 5:00 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    As you may already know, Maryan Street presented her submission on 14 October 2015 and the Health Select Committee is taking public submissions on assisted dying and suicide until February 2016.

    The Health Select Committee wants to hear from New Zealanders about their beliefs and concerns about end of life choices. It's your chance to tell our politicians how you feel about end of life care and the choices you want to have.

    Matt Vickers has put this helpful guide on Lecretia's website. Please look at it and make a submission.

    We can't let this opportunity slide by. If we don't speak up now, we won't get what we want.

  • 19 Nov 2015 4:53 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    We had an email last week from one of our members in reply to an email we'd sent about Advanced Directives and our "Guide to Dying Your Way".

    She has two really good ideas: 1) Organ donor and 2) Life Tube. We asked her permission to pass them on.

    It would also be possible to attach your AD to your fridge door - transparent plastic sleeve tied to a hinge maybe? We're sure you'll be able to think of some creative ways to stick it there.

    She said:

    A year or so ago I downloaded the 'Guide to Dying your Way' and subsequently amended it to suit myself and took my Advance Directive to my GP who was impressed and helpful. As this is not a legal document, one can add whatever one wants and after discussing with my GP, we added, 'I also request that my body be donated to the Auckland Medical School if deemed appropriate. I have made contact with them. But if I am required to have an autopsy, my body organs may be donated'.

    I feel that some altruistic members may like to consider these additions.

    I keep a copy of my Advance Directive in an Age Concern 'Life Tube' in the fridge - a 'Life Tube' red and white sticker is on the outside of the fridge, and I have written 'organ donor' on this. You may know about these Life Tubes - primarily for storing a record of medication for St John Ambulance should they be called.

  • 12 Nov 2015 7:07 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    On 2 September 2015 VESNZ made this general submission, supporting three parts to Physician Assisted Dying:

    1. use in terminally ill patients e.g. cancer patients

    2. use in individuals with grievous unbearable irreversible suffering which is relentless but may not cause death within 6 months e.g. motor neurone disease, very severe respiratory disease, and a number of other neurological conditions

    3. provision for an End-of-Life Directive, written while mentally competent, but allowing PAD when the patient has become mentally incompetent.

    Read here »

  • 19 Oct 2015 8:00 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    ACT leader David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill has now been lodged in the members’ ballot in Parliament. The Bill will not be considered by Parliament unless it is drawn, so for now the fate of the Bill is subject to the randomness of the regular ballots for members Bills.

    But the public campaign to raise awareness of the issue and to debate the many complex aspects of the Bill has already started.

    As part of that campaign David has established a website to help inform people of the issues surrounding assisted dying. From that website you can download a copy of the Bill, read through a number of recent articles about developments in New Zealand and overseas, leave personal stories for others to read, and register to be kept up-to-date with developments.

    David urges you to visit the website at and register to be kept informed of developments.

    We will also keep you informed of developments.

  • 12 Oct 2015 7:58 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    New Zealand voluntary euthanasia campaigners will take their case for a law change to parliament this week buoyed by California’s recent move to allow doctors to give fatal drugs to terminally ill patients.

    Former MP Maryan Street, a Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) committee member who drafted a bill that failed to reach the debate stage in Parliament, will present a submission on Wednesday to the health select committee which is holding a public inquiry into the issue. VES is awaiting a date to speak to the written submission it has lodged.

    California’s Governor Jerry Brown, 77, a Catholic who studied to be a priest as a young man, signed a bill on October 5 that will make physician-assisted dying legal in the state next year.

    California will become the fifth US state to allow terminally ill patients to take their lives with doctor prescribed drugs. With nearly 40 million people, it is America’s most populous state.

    Governor Brown said he consulted members of the Catholic Church, which is opposed to the measure, as well as physicians, before signing the measure.

    "In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death," he said. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn't deny that right to others."

    The state legislature approved a law change after Brittany Maynard, 29, who had an inoperable brain tumour, moved from her San Francisco home to Oregon, which allowed physician-assisted dying, to take her own life in November.

    “Brittany Maynard became a Facebook and Twitter sensation,” Dr Jack Havill, president of VESNZ, said on Sunday. “The world followed her blogs as she came to the end of her life. Now, her wish has come true – California, her home state, has a law similar to that of Oregon.

    “California is providing yet another example to the New Zealand Parliament as it considers the issues around physician assisted dying.”

  • 07 Oct 2015 3:17 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    The family of Lecretia Seales are encouraged to keep fighting for assisted death in New Zealand after an American family successfully fought to have California state law changed to allow voluntary euthanasia.

    And the UK is the best place in the world to die, according to end-of-life care index. The upper echelons of the index are dominated by wealthy European, Asia-Pacificand north American countries. Australia is second, New Zealand third and Ireland and Belgium complete the top five.

  • 29 Sep 2015 3:40 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    Stuff Health examines "Opposing sides of the euthanasia debate." – 20 September 2015

    IOL News presents the debate over assisted suicide and palliative care. – 22 September 2015

    National Radio presents the story of Brittany Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer. She and her partner moved from California to Oregon so doctors could help her to end her own life. – 24 September 2015

    The Waikato Times suggests Last Cab to Darwin is not the real story of voluntary euthanasia  – it's "a much nicer story than the real-life story it is based on." – 26 September 2015

    Image: Waikato Times

  • 16 Sep 2015 3:46 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    A while back we introduced Gina, a woman with an extreme genetic disorder. Through the powerful film below, Gina expresses her belief that she should have the right to choose if, and when, and how she might die.

  • 16 Sep 2015 3:41 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    Bay Buzz article

    July/August 2015

    Libby Smales asks, in her article, In honour of Lecretia Seales, "What next? Lecretia touched so many hearts and minds with her courageous bid to make a difference to the way we die."

    Read the article (scanned PDF) »

  • 14 Sep 2015 1:54 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

    Max Bell was a well known local and in 1996 was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and knowing what the outcome was going to be as he had seen others go through with it wanted to to die peacefully and at that time the Northern Territory had just brought in the Rights of the Terminally ill act 1995 with a Dr.Phillip Nitschke 

    He drove over 3,000 kilometers to Darwin and the roads were very rough and dusty only to have to return back to Broken Hill after he couldn’t get a specialist to confirm his diagnosis or a psychiatrist to confirm he wasn’t suffering from a treatable depression where he went through a slow agonising   death.

    As Max says on the video, “I just don’t see why people want to inflict things like this on each other “

    *R.I.P.~ Max Bell*

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