Last week Mr Ken Orr, Spokesperson for Family First and dedicated opponent of assisted dying, wrote to the Southland Times decrying the number of "murders" initiated by doctors in the Netherlands.
These were not "murders" of course, but simple cases of doctors lawfully assisting their eligible patients to a peaceful death and reporting the deaths as they should properly do.
I wonder how many doctors Mr Orr has counted clandestinely practicing, but not reporting, euthanasia in New Zealand? None, I’ll bet.
Yet a 2015 informal survey in New Zealand found that 10% of doctors here are involved in clandestine euthanasia. Formal, anonymous surveys conducted in Australia show similarly.
This is not surprising considering about one third of doctors and over 50% of nurses in New Zealand want assisted dying to be legalised so they don’t have to practice clandestinely any longer.
The reporting we see in the Netherlands is what we would see here if only we didn’t penalise our doctors for being honest.
But at risk of 14 years’ imprisonment for compassionate assistance to die, who can afford to be honest?
Ann David is a retired human resources professional living in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast. She has been a campaigner for the right to die with dignity for the past 15 years, initially in Australia and since 2009, in New Zealand. She is a member of the End of Life Choice Society and of the NZARH.