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‘Slanted Sunday segment glorifies tragedy’ – say DefendNZ

Sunday programme news

The following is a Press Release by #DefendNZ, which DTNZ has decided to publish in full.

“One woman’s brave story…” was the opening statement to TVNZ’s Sunday programme advertisement for Esther’s Story on May 15. That assertion made it clear from the start what angle the segment would take on Esther Richard’s euthanasia stance… What it really should have said was “one woman’s tragic story”.

Even the fact Sunday chose to cover Esther’s choice to die by euthanasia in its usual melodramatic, heart-string tugging format of Sunday programming is a statement in itself, promising to delve into the topic that is “taboo”.

In the segment Sunday programme host journalist Miriama Kamo followed Esther Richard’s final few months of living with terminal brain cancer up until the day before she was euthanised.

As pro-euthanasia “expert” Massey University philosophy tutor Vanessa Schouten interviewed live on Facebook after the show stated, “seeing her story can be very persuasive and enlightening…”.

Persuasive of what? That assisted suicide and euthanasia are a good thing, no doubt. So much for balance.

The story followed Esther’s trip to the beach in a wheelchair, her love of board games and laughter, and briefly her reasons as to why she chose her own road to death. Esther was a fierce euthanasia advocate and shared her story and fought her perspective throughout the years that New Zealand considered the End of Life Choice Act legistlation.

Ironically, Esther could share details of her story on national television but other assisted dying deaths in New Zealand are covered in a shroud of secrecy with the End of Life Choice Act ensuring no one will see any evidence or basic information on those applying or using it. Meaning there will be no accountability to New Zealanders to ensure the Act is being used correctly, or if it is actually achieving what it was supposedly set out to do – “relieve suffering”. A major discrepancy according to lawyers like human rights lawyer Richard McLeod and palliative care medical expert Professor Roderick MacLeod.

Esther’s story also revealed a weakness in the eligibility criteria around the measurement of “unbearable suffering”. When Esther first applied for the approval of assisted suicide or euthanasia she was denied as she didn’t meet the unbearable suffering eligibility. However, a trip to the doctor a few months later had that decision reversed.

The definition of unbearable suffering as eligibility criteria in the Act is entirely subjective, it is defined by the End of Life Choice Act as:

  • experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable.

That subjectivity has proved to be a weak protective measure that can be easily overturned.

Kamo had her own conscience pricked days before Esther’s death. The journalist recorded a conversation ensuring it was “on record” Esther didn’t feel pressured to follow through with assisted suicide or euthanasia due to the filming of the feature for the Sunday programme.

Unbelievably, that short question is the same method doctors will use to check that Esther, and anyone else considering assisted suicide or euthanasia, hasn’t been coerced by anyone to make the choice. A question that can very easily be deflected with a bit of humour, but can’t be tested with a simple passing comment. Coercion is subtle. It’s difficult to detect and sometimes a person doesn’t even realise they are under its influence. Protection provided against it in the legislation: a simple question from one doctor.

What the programme failed to address was the influence of this legislation on others.

Esther said “I don’t call what I’m doing now living.”

Schouten says Esther’s values of autonomy, suffering avoidance and wanting to maintain her identity by function were her values, and that this legislation allows others to choose based on their values. But legislation doesn’t just allow some, it enables all. With such weak safeguards to prevent the elderly and disabled being abused, it has meant the “rights” of a few have opened the door for manipulation to the vulnerable.

Esther chose to die on the same day her mum died 30 years earlier, from the same cancer – April 22.

The loss of a loved one, the grief, trauma, shock and “surreal” feeling was very much still there for son Alex and friend Jooles. No amount of control can avoid that part of life, that part of death.

We are told she died surrounded by five members of her friends and family at 1.14pm on April 22. Esther said she would tell a joke to make her loved ones laugh before the lethal drug was injected and she was killed, while her loved ones stood and watched.

Having the End of Life Choice Act operating in New Zealand is a tragedy not a victory.

There’s a reason why the topic is taboo.

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  1. Informed Consent = Manufactured Consent
    Will the relatives and doctors would agree to keep a public registry of who was euthanised?
    Would the goernment be willing not to pay 3K or so because it is an inducement?
    Would the government be willing to conduct independent a psychological assessment of those who perform on a regular basis?
    Would the government be willing to let church and others to advise in all of the individual cases?
    The answer is NO. The whole saga is one-sided agenda to satisfy a false woke ideology.

  2. In several nations, Doctors are the sole judge and jury in deciding on ending a life, WITHOUT EVER CONSULTING THE PATIENT (if conscience) OR FAMILY MEMBERS!!!1
    The DHB’s have been caught putting green DNR orders (green sheet) in patient’s files; obviously from ‘social profiling’ of ‘useless eaters’ and the like.
    Check your medical records in person, and see if the DHB’s in their arrogance have slipped in a Green Sheet into YOUR medical records.
    Do this in person where items cannot be excluded as in a mail request!


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