If a referendum on assisted dying were to be held today, I’m certain that those in favour of legalisation would win hands down.
My confidence has been boosted by an article I wrote for Stuff and that they published on 21 February, albeit with a few commendable and less-commendable changes made by their editors.
But it’s not my article that deserves attention. It’s the huge number of comments and “Likes” it attracted. If you scoot down to the bottom of the page below the coloured photos, you will see them displayed.
Yes, you read correctly. Overwhelmingly, the comments are favourable to assisted dying. These writers would certainly vote YES in a referendum.
The opposition voices are much fewer and you will note one particular submitter who dominates the negative commentary over and over, refusing to acknowledge the reasoning of anyone else. She features prominently because of her repeated postings, but she’d only get one vote in the referendum.
Stuff is Fairfax Media's online national publication reaching readerships around the country with a very diverse offering of news items: they range from political to local news, topics of general interest and celebrity gossip. Its readership is as varied as the patrons of a movie theatre: all ages, genders, ethnicities, beliefs and persuasions, limited only by the ownership of an internet-enabled device such as a computer or Smartphone.
Stuff readers are a microcosm of the voting public.
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.