New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, gave 'ín principle' support to Maryan Street MP's euphemistically titled 'Énd of Life Choices' Bill in an interview on New Zealand radio today.
No real surprise here - he's said as much before. What was surprising were his broad brush and unfounded statements about the state of the New Zealand health system, suggesting he understands very little about end-of-life issues (echoed by many comments on the stuff.co.nz website).
"I think there's a lot of euthanasia that effectively happens in our hospitals," he told Newstalk ZB.
If that's the case, Mr. Key, what is your government doing to protect the lives of patients who may be at risk? What are you saying about the integrity and ethics of New Zealand's health workers?
But Key seems to deny that there are risks. From the Stuff report:
Mr Key said yesterday that he could understand the argument that legalising euthanasia might put pressure on the elderly to end their lives early, in the face of "rapacious grandkids", but "I don't really buy that argument".
So, Elder Abuse is not a problem in New Zealand? Sure, and New Zealand's full of hobbits, too!
". . . If I had terminal cancer, I had a few weeks to live, I was in tremendous amount of pain - if they just effectively wanted to turn off the switch and legalise that by legalising euthanasia, I'd want that." He added.
Here again Key appears not to understand that pain can be effectively managed at the end-of-life. And I thought we'd long gotten past the curious and erroneous notion that euthanasia was about 'turning off the switch'or 'pulling the plug'.
There once was a time when national and state leaders refrained from public advocacy on contentious social issues, recognising that their very position might influence their colleagues and the public. This seems no-more.
But it should still remain a matter of simple courtesy and respect that any person in his position should have a fundamental understanding of such a grave matter before making public statements.