[Right_to_die] N Z MP will try again with euthanasia law
Derek Humphry (ERGO EFN)
ergo at efn.org
Fri Apr 9 13:55:54 PDT 2004
Martin trial revives euthanasia bill
SATURDAY , 10 APRIL 2004
By REBECCA PALMER
NZ First MP Peter Brown wants to see voluntary euthanasia legalised but says
he has no time for the plastic bags and "death machines" promoted by some
"It's just something we don't need in this society."
Mr Brown has announced his intention to resubmit a refined version of his
Death with Dignity Bill after euthanasia campaigner Lesley Martin was found
guilty last week of attempting to murder her terminally ill mother.
"It's an entitlement for people to die peacefully and with dignity," Mr
The bill, which would have allowed terminally ill people to seek help from
medical professionals to end their lives, was narrowly defeated, 60 votes to
57, on its first reading in Parliament last year.
Mr Brown said he had received hundreds of letters and e-mails in support of
voluntary euthanasia after the bill was rejected. Martin's trial had
persuaded him to resubmit it.
But he distanced himself from Martin's pro-euthanasia group Exit New
Zealand. Though he had worked closely with pro-voluntary euthanasia groups,
he was not a member of any of them.
He was concerned Exit New Zealand was a "spin-off" of Exit Australia, whose
founder Philip Nitschke, otherwise known as "Doctor Death", had demonstrated
how people could kill themselves using plastic bags with drawstrings and
machines that emitted lethal carbon monoxide gas.
"I don't disagree with Nitschke's request to change the laws but I don't
want to be associated at all with those death machines," Mr Brown said.
The Martin trial has prompted other MPs to reconsider the issue. Labour MP
Tim Barnett said a parliamentary group had met for the first time this week
to discuss issues relating to "end-of-life" decisions, including voluntary
Mr Barnett, who visited Martin in Wanganui during the trial, said her case
had highlighted a "lack of clarity in the law" and the issue needed to be
debated at parliamentary level.
"I think it's here to stay. I think Lesley's case has focused people's
He said the group would consider the best way to move forward. He believed a
new bill was needed.
The group would wait till Martin's sentencing on April 30 before making any
decisions, he said. -----------end
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