Candidates face tough questions
A member of the audience asked the candidates if they had read David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill, and how they would vote if elected to Parliament.
Seymour’s bill would allow anyone over the age of 18, "of a sound mind" decided on by two qualified medical practitioners, who was suffering in the late stages of a terminal or debilitating illness, to choose the time and method of their death. Further safe guards would also apply to make sure a person was not being coerced into making a decision that was not their own.
Two of the four candidates (Corbett did not attend) said they would vote for the bill at its first reading, as they believed it should go to the select committee stage.
Their further support would depend on consultation and what provisions were in the final bill.
Falloon said he had read the bill, and would vote for it at its first reading.
"I’ve got two really serious concerns about the whole issue. The first is about the potential for elder abuse. It’s already a massive issue in this country, particularly around younger family members putting pressure on, particularly financial pressure, on older family members.
"The second one is the elderly feeling they’re a burden.
"That said, I do think as a country we are mature enough to have that debate."
He said voting for the bill would allow it to go to a select committee, where there would be "substantial" public consultation.
Luxton would also vote for the bill at first reading, but was yet to read it.
"I had this discussion with my daughter the other day, and she said to me ’you know mum, if I was involved in a car accident, and I was pretty much just a shell, or a body, incapacitated, couldn’t move, couldn’t function, couldn’t anything, I wouldn’t want to carry on’.
"That makes me think about the difference between quality of life, or just existing. If it was me personally, I wouldn’t want to just be existing."
The euthanasia debate needed to be had, she said, but it would need to be "extremely tight".
"You just have to get right."
Mathers said she was not likely to vote in favour of the bill, which she had read. Continued, page 9