He­lensville prospects take on top­ics

Western Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DANIELLE CLENT

Can­di­dates want­ing to be He­lensville’s next MP have shared their views on some con­tro­ver­sial top­ics – abor­tion and eu­thana­sia.

Green’s Hay­ley Holt, Labour’s Kurt Tao­gaga and ACT’s Alex Evans think abor­tion laws need to be ad­justed, but NZ First’s He­len Peter­son and Na­tional’s Chris Penk have con­cerns.

Penk said he would be in­ter­ested in hear­ing the views of those liv­ing in the elec­torate, but said he wouldn’t sup­port a change to the cur­rent law.

Peter­son said the high rate of abor­tion statis­tics in New Zealand were ’’con­cern­ing’’.

‘‘The New Zealand First party be­lieves that abor­tions should be safe and rare,’’ Pater­son said.

Tao­gaga said the de­ci­sion to end a preg­nancy should solely lie with the mother.

‘‘I be­lieve that abor­tion should be leg­is­lated for un­der the Health Act and not the Crimes Act,’’ he said.

Holt said the Green Party sup­ported the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of abor­tion.

‘‘We trust women to know what is the right thing to do for their fam­i­lies. Abor­tion is a health is­sue not a crim­i­nal one.’’

Evans agreed and said the cur­rent abor­tion law in New Zealand was ‘‘ar­chaic and an af­front to the dig­nity of women’’.

Sim­i­lar views were ex­pressed by the can­di­dates for their opin­ions on eu­thana­sia.

Tao­gaga said he be­lieved eu­thana­sia should be avail­able for those with ter­mi­nal ill­nesses that im­pact their life to the point where they don’t have one.

He said there were ’’ob­vi­ous caveats’’ that needed to be checked to en­sure peo­ple weren’t just us­ing it as a tool to stop be­ing ‘‘a fi­nan­cial bur­den on their fam­ily’’.

Holt said her party sup­ported a per­son’s right to ‘‘die with dig­nity’’, as long as med­i­cal and ethical safe­guards were put in place.

Evans was sup­port­ive of eu­thana­sia. He said hav­ing the op­tion to end your life with dig­nity was a ‘‘fun­da­men­tal lib­erty’’ that everyone should have.

Penk said pro­pos­als ad­vo­cat­ing eu­thana­sia were ‘‘well in­ten­tioned’’, but there was a dan­ger those most vul­ner­a­ble in so­ci­ety could feel pres­sured to end their lives.

He said the is­sue would be han­dled as a ‘‘con­science vote’’ in Par­lia­ment. Peter­son said she held no ‘‘firm’’ opin­ion on the sub­ject and un­der­stood both sides.

A map of the He­lensville elec­torate.

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