Can­di­dates face tough ques­tions

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT -

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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

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