3 News 27 March 2012
The Salvation Army has spoken out against Labour MP Maryan Street’s intention to introduce a Private Member’s Bill legalising voluntary euthanasia. The Nelson Mail reported that Ms Street plans to introduce an ‘End of Life Choice’ Bill, which will give terminally ill people the right to physician-assisted death at a time of their choosing. Two previous attempts at passing legislation on legalised euthanasia – from Michael Laws in 1995, and Peter Brown in 2003 – failed to get through Parliament. Ms Street says the legislation would offer protection to family members and medical staff who had been asked by a terminally ill patient to help them end their life, but the Salvation Army says it could put pressure on the terminally ill to “choose an ‘early exit’”. The organisation, which believes euthanasia and assisted suicide are morally wrong regardless of illness or age, said in a statement that legalising voluntary euthanasia would “see New Zealand take steps towards non-voluntary euthanasia for those of limited mental capacity”.