Friday, August 12, 2016

Anti-voluntary euthanasia submitters overwhelm (updated)

Jane Silloway Smith, who used to work for Maxim, has analysed the submissions to the health committee on the matter of voluntary euthanasia:

“Maryan Street and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society wanted to know New Zealanders’ views on legalising assisted suicide,” says Dr Jane Silloway Smith, Director of Every Life Research Unit, “and the people have spoken: at a ratio of about 3 to 1, they have told Parliament not to legalise assisted suicide.”

Dr Smith has been analysing submissions made to the Health Select Committee’s investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand. She has conducted a random sampling of the 20,576 submissions made public by the Committee thus far. Her analysis has found that 78% of submitters are against legalising assisted suicide, while 22% are in favour of changing the law.

“Submitters to the Health Select Committee have overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to assisted suicide,” comments Dr Jane Silloway Smith. “The very clear ratio against a change in the current law alongside the high number of total submissions shows that there is a strong public political will opposed to assisted suicide.”

I am happy to take her word about the numbers but I've had a look at around 20 submissions.

Here's half a dozen of the noes. If Silloway is happy to assume her sample is right re numbers I will assume my sample is right re content.

(Right click on image to view)

Clearly a lot of effort has gone into collecting many sheets of paper featuring some oppositional statement in order to get anti-euthanasia submission numbers up.

Looks to me like the churches have been very busy.

Not one of the positive submissions that I have sighted was as 'unsupported' as these.

Ah. Democracy. It's a wonderful thing. Not.

I utterly resent religious people imposing their views on me via legislation - especially as pathetically expressed as these are.


Some more single sentence, single page submissions.

Did any of these people follow or understand the Lecretia Seales case? Did they understand the text of the petition they were submitting on?

That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.

(Right click on image to enlarge)


Anonymous said...

What an impressive last sentence!!! I take it that you think that morally superior people instead promote hate against groups by typecasting them - or do you just think that religious folk are too subhuman for their views to be treated with any kind of respect.

For the record, I provided a well-researched, well-reasoned submission against the proposal which was not based on religious values.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Good for you. At least you know why you think what you do.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Do you think that religious groups have any respect for my belief that I own my life? If they did, they wouldn't be fighting for the status quo. It'a going to be gloves off on this issue.

Mark Hubbard said...

I'm gutted.

I've explained on my blog how seminary trained Catholic priest Simon O'Connor chairing this committee was cynical and deliberate to fob off this issue out past next year's election. That's all this committee was. Key and his Catholic codgers, lets call them what they are, primitives, Bill English, et al, of National don't want this right given to us.

Even yesterday on Checkpoint O'Connor was telling John Campbell his religious views against euthanasia does not affect his chairing, and yet, while chair he was writing anti-euthanasia pieces in Catholic rages exhorting his fellow Catholics to submit against. That was unethical sabotage and explains why when public polls show 80%+ support for euthanasia law, the submissions to His committee are the opposite. Those submissions are what he engineered.

I am mad as hell with these meddling bastard Christians.

My choice to die with dignity has no affect whatsoever on their choice to die cruelly, but for those bastards to forcibly deny me that choice which does not affect them is bullying and disgusting. If I believed in their comic book hell, I would wish them to its fiery pits.

Bastards, bastards, bastards. There is no representation in New Zealand at a political level, certainly not of individual rights to life. This tyranny of a country.

But here's the deal, and yes I'm a hot head concerning my rights.

If at some future stage I find myself dying on a prognosis that is awful to me, then at that stage my life has ceased to have value (no, it has to before when I would still be able - lack of choice leads to shorter lives), I will blow my brains out *in* parliament to make the goddamned point about the brutal deaths no choice forces many people. Or I'll find where that meddling sadist O'Connor lives at that future date and do it on his lawn.

I will never ever ever vote National tactically or otherwise. They're (in a secular sense) pure vileness and evil.

And I don't care if we get a Left goverment next year, National has to go. My idea is somehow put in a socially liberal mix of politicians, get euthanasia and cannabis (esp medicinal - same issue as euthanasia) legalisation through, then worry about rescuing the economy they would have destroyed (albeit central banking has already done that anyway).

Sorry for the language and the excess, Lindsay, but I - and many NZers - am enraged. Because right now there will be someone dying in circumstances anathema to them, and who would rather have died peacefully and compassionately as this woman has just done in California:

Also this week the first doctor assisted death happened in Canada under their new law.

While NZ remains ruled by brute primitives.

And before that meddling Brendan sticks his idiot God's oar into this thread, this once, matey, f**k off.

Mark Hubbard said...

Typo: in the above that was 'O'Connor was writing in Catholic *rags*, exhorting Catholics to submit against ...

Although 'rages' in a Freudian sense was bang on.

Anonymous said...

Did you think the one page you reproduced was from a church group? There is nothing in the content to suggest it was. From the handwriting etc it looks like a school group.

I must say the comments are illuminating.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

That wasn't one page. It is a composite scan of six individual pages. I have opened more submissions and whenever a submission has a Pacific name attached it contains one page/ one hand-written sentence often referencing God or Polynesian culture. So I have made an assumption these are church groups. But I could be wrong. They could come from a Pacific school.

macdoctor said...

Lyndsay, are you really suggesting that religious people are not entitled to exercise their democratic rights or are somehow sullying democracy by exercising them? Last time I checked, democracy allows everyone a say, regardless of how uninformed or "unenlightened" their opinion is.

I have around 30 years of experience working in terminal care. My opinion is about as informed as it gets and I have a decidedly negative view of euthanasia as a simplistic answer to a complex situation and a dangerous and easily abused piece of potential legislation. I could use your argument to discount your opinion as "uninformed" relative to mine but that would be fairly dumb.

There are uninformed and ignorant opinions on both sides of this debate. I think it is important to address that with factual information rather than dismissal.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"Are you really suggesting that religious people are not entitled to exercise their democratic right?"

No I'm not. I'm in the Churchill camp. Democracy is imperfect but the best system there is.

What I am angry about is 'they' want to control my life decisions in a way that 'I' do not want to control theirs. And they haven't even had to good grace to try and explain why.

jeremy said...

As with so many things today personal responsibility is the bottom line. It was not her fault that she beat up her kids, it was not his fault that he stole from his employer, it was not his fault that he raped the girl but these 'excuses' don't wash. We ask everyone to take responsibility for themselves and for their own lives. Just as requiring everyone to accept responsibility in other parts of their lives (with the various caveats the society has identified - mental capacity, stress, poverty et al) isn't it right that in this last place of personal responsibility we ask that of each person.

Anonymous said...

I think it's also worth pointing out that a submission process is not a substitute for scientific polling. Without a large scientific poll, the inquiry might show the range of views, but the committee members will not find out the views of average New Zealanders who are overwhelmingly in favour.

Mark Hubbard said...

Differing from Lindsay, I don't believe those retarded by religion should have a say in euthanasia debate. I don't seek any say in their deaths, they need no say in mine. My choice of euthanasia affects no choices they have.

If I was the only person in NZ who believed in my reight to die with dignity, morally I would always be right still You can't vote on truth or morality.

Again, O'Connor should never have chaired this committee. He has sabotaged it knowingly. This roadshow is unnecesssary, indeed, sick. A bunch of politicians, the chair who believes he'll be carted off to hell or some fatuous thing if he voted for euthanasia, touring the country to be voyeurs of peoples pain and suffering.

Just give us the legal option. There is no argument against. None.

Mark Hubbard said...

To macdoctor, Matt Vivkers spoke to many palliative care professionals who were for euthanasia but too scared to speak out because of the negligent stance of NZMA and their mainly Christian funded ruling bodies.

From your first sentence, I bet religion is still the root cause of your disagreement.

In overseas jurisdictions there is no evidence of abuse given the many safeguards, and that's before we consider the NZ debate is only about those with terminal illness. But I'll play devil's advocate: say there was examples of abuse ( I can't find any), well that doesn't change my right to choose circumstances of my death, no more than crash deaths would lead anyone to suggesting we ban driving cars.

So a question: say I'm dying in a manner horrific to me and beyond pain remediation regimes, and I want to die by peaceful means (not a plastic bag over my head like Rosie Mott) with my loved ones, what right do you have, regardless your experience, telling me what I must endure (for you and probably your monstrous god)? And that I must use crude violent methods while my loved ones go shopping because they must not be with me? I contend you thinking you have that right is hubris, at best, arrogance, at worst, and always cruel.

But then your god is a cruel bastard, aye. But answer my question, and why not from your own name?

Anonymous said...

I think its pretty cheap to suggest submitters are somehow dumb or easily led. It doesn't take a sizeable missive to state "no".

A Chesterton pointed out, and Shaw agreed with him, the common man knows trouble when he sees it. Euthanasia is trouble. And the genie is out of the box in plenty of jurisdictions where it has been legalised, in the form of unconsented euthanasia.

And to the crux of your annoyance Lindsay: the idea we own our lives is false. We have no say in the following:
- our birth
- our parents
- our initial status and jurisdiction in this world
- our skin colour
- our physical ability
- our mental ability
- the diseases we catch
- the disease we might die from
- the accident that might kill us
If we truly "owned" our bodies in the same way we owned our car or pet dog, we would have a say in at least some of these things as we could choose these types at our leisure.

The notion that not allowing euthanasia to someone who wants it as being a bad thing, centres upon a false "autonomy" and synthetic Marxist/utilitarianism of the individual as nothing more than a unit in a machine, with some self diagnostic AI function.

And it has the nasty element of asking someone else to the dirty work, even if they agree to it, by encouraging them to actively end a life. And those who do not wish to engage are vilified for being cowardly?

Finally, this submission process only really reflected the views of those who could be bothered to submit. It is interesting to note the split in views between this method and "polls" which are run and manipulated by the media.

Chris P

Unknown said...

Hi Lindsay, I am also in the Churchill camp with regard to democracy.

I am not in the pro-euthanasia camp, and submitted to the committee a rather longer than on page or one line submission due to my concern about the complete inability of our society in the long term to put in place the checks and balances that would stop abuse, and perhaps some 'involuntary euthanasia' in the future.

I have a young daughter with a disability, and do not want to see her at risk of being 'put to sleep' in the future due to some medical points system that has decided her quality of life is not sufficient. So despite the passionate posts of the likes of Mark Hubbard above, I personally will continue to use the resources at my disposal to fight this proposal as dispassionately and logically as possible to protect my family, and others like me.

I am with MacDoctor on this one - once the door is opened, then over a long period of time, as a result of well meaning court cases no doubt, protections will be chipped away, to the point where the dangers that I can for-see with this legislation will occur.

To say they won't is naive, our Parliament in the 1970's agonised regarding the issue of abortion and put a range of strong safeguards in place. These safeguards have been side stepped - with a misapplication of one category to allow a result that the legislation did not originally intend.

This win for 'rights' in the abortion area, against the intention of the law, and the safeguards put in place, shows how utterly dangerous legislation around euthanasia would be over a longer period of time in New Zealand.

In addition to this, voluntary or otherwise euthanasia completely changes the trust relationship that society has with the medical profession.

All professions, and fundamentally society, operate on the basis of trusted and accepted norms. Where there is no trust, there in no society - and people will take necessary and often extreme measures to protect themselves. We can see an extreme outworking of this in northern Iraq at the moment were every section of society there is now armed to the teeth - because you can't trust the neighbours not to come and slaughter you in the morning. To a lesser extent the arming of American society is also about a breakdown of societal trust - particularly in the poorer inner cities - Chicago comes to mind in this regard.

Returning to the medical profession - at the moment New Zealand's medical profession is rightly held in very high trust - that if you are unwell they will do their very best to treat you, and restore you to health. This is as it should be - and permeates throughout the profession, the people who join it, the processes and procedures in place, the checks and balances etc. Everything is lined up around the treatment and restoration and the best to health that is possible in the circumstance.

If euthanasia is permitted, and definitions extend by court ruling over time, the basis of trust in the medical profession will have shifted. Suspicions may arise that decisions have been made to ease the societal budget. The infirm, vulnerable, in-articulate, weaker members of society start to worry that they may not return from hospital (antidotally this is already occurring in Holland). Can I actually now trust the medical profession to heal me....

Can you predict and do you know the long term effects of this in society Lindsay? Have you even thought about them?

In the name of your individual rights, you are promoting a fundamental shift in the societal trust of the medical profession - that they are now there to take life on request, as well as to save life.

In the name of these rights, you would sweep away centuries old protections with very little debate.

I think we should have this debate as a society, and that the debate should be long, considered, factual, and allow for strong opinions - and that everyone should be included in it.

Unknown said...

@MarkHubbard 8:03am

"well that doesn't change my right to choose circumstances of my death, no more than crash deaths would lead anyone to suggesting we ban driving cars"

Except that what you are proposing in the name of individual rights will involve the intervention of others - typically the medical profession. In the very act of what you are proposing in the name of your rights and needs you want to alter the societal contract with the medical profession - they are trained and paid to heal now, you want them to take life at your request too.

That alteration of the societal contract with the medical profession impacts all sorts of people, and parts of society - and therefore it should be debated loud and long by as many people who want to be involved.

Mark Hubbard said...

To 9.45am

Every thing about euthanasia will be voluntary - that last word is one the campaigners against are clueless of.

Obviously a euthanasia service will only be offered by those doctors who agree with it, of which there will be many (read Matt Vickers - partner of Lucretia Seale - blog). There is no compulsion here on either side of the deathbed. As it is in all overseas jurisdictions dying with dignity is legal.

There is no societal contract with the medical profession, because it doesn't exist: the profession in made up of individuals, a fact overlooked by the bullying NZMA. That organisation has never even polled it's members on this topic, it simply dictates. When the UKMA polled its members over 80% voted it was a choice for 'society', not for the medical association.

My question to you: why do you think you are entitled to sit at my deathbed between me and my family dictating the terms of my death (and that I must choose the gun, the plastic bag or the rope, and that I must die alone)? It's got nothing to do with you. I don't seek to stop you dying in the manner you wish, be it undignified and pooing yourself or whatever.


Mark Hubbard said...

To 9.34

How hard is this and for the thuggish campaign against to get their noses out of other peoples lives.

Me having the choice of euthanasia in no way reflects on the value of your disabled daughter's life (which is an unstated part of your argument; I'll deal with the direct bit below). The argument by the disabled lobby that a choice of euthanasia somehow de-values their lives is conceited and wrong: no one can seek to judge another individual's unhappiness or suffering. That's where macdoctor is also wrong: he says death is complicated thus he doesn't like the 'simple' solution of euthanasia. Well I would say that is a local GP's (looked up your bio macdoctor) arrogance talking because it is precisely that dying is complicated that he cannot make the final judgement for dying individuals either. That has to be left to the individual dying. It's a hubris he's picked up from the NZMA.

Dealing with the substantive part of your argument, if you research overseas jurisdictions there are no instances of the disabled, elderly, etc being euthanised. Not one I could find and I've spent many hours on this. That is a very cheap scare mongering not relevant to the debate, but which is used always in this generalised (wrong) manner - there is no substance to it,because there are a huge number of safeguards.

Note I have an IHC sister: there is no way any of the family could make the decision being debated for her because all 'participants' have to be suis juris which my sister isn't.

The only *voluntary* euthanasia being debated here is for suis juris adults with terminal illness. All the best for your daughter, but she is not relevant to this debate (at all).


Mark Hubbard said...

Further comment to 9.34.

There is no link, repeat, no link between euthanasia and abortion debates, NONE, other than I hold with both because it's down to individual choice, and in the euthanasia debate it tends to throw up the religious zealots again.

That attempted link is spurious and more than mischievous.

Stick, like submissions were supposed to, to the law being written in New Zealand which is for those suis juris adults with terminal illness.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Lindsay

It's not surprising that your post has engendered a good deal of commentary. We live in an historical epoch characterised by the preeminence of the individual and their right to choose. This 'virtue' now trumps all others in our culture.

I have written a submission to the committee which is against progressing with euthanasia for many of the reasons listed above, but primarily for two reasons.

1) It reduces human life to merely utilitarian value. I have found that those who argue that someone at the end of their life should be allowed to terminate it often balk at Laura situation. Laura is an otherwise healthy 24 year old who is suffering from suicidal thoughts and has been advised by Belgium doctors that she qualifies for assisted suicide. (I quote this case in my submission).

2) Which brings us to the second reason why I oppose it, and that is 'scope creep'. It's the terminally ill today, the mentally ill tomorrow, followed by the clinically depressed the next day, and then finally we have the death panels.

Sure, it will NEVER happen but when it does it will be a considered act of compassion with the patients best interests at heart.

None of those reasons are of themselves directly 'religious' - anyone of faith or no faith can relate to them. However, none of us comes to this question ideologically or religiously neutral. Our worldview, our understanding of what is true, what is good, what is just is informed by someone or something. To that extent, an Atheists world view is no less 'religiously' informed or sincerely held than those of a Christians or a Buddhists.

While Christianity shapes my understanding of the dignity of human life, I also appreciate that a credible case can be made for euthanasia for the terminally ill and dying. Who of us is not moved by the suffering of others, especially if they are relatives or close friends. It is natural to want to alleviate suffering in these circumstances.

However, we should not forget that once euthanasia is legalised it places an intolerable burden upon those who are terminally ill to end their lives, so as not to be considered a burden upon relatives and loved ones. Not in functional and loving families perhaps, but then not all families fit that model.

The cultural tide is in favour of individual rights, and euthanasia is just the ultimate expression of a culture that is increasingly nihilistic. The bill may not pass this time around but I suspect it will eventually. Opposition is essentially reactionary, while the weight of our cultural narrative is primarily progressive.

Cheer up Mark, you will probably see it come to pass in your lifetime. Was it Wild who said 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.'

Unknown said...

@Mark Hubbard

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my posts. In the time since I last posted 9:34am and 9:45am I have taken the time to read the long last post on your blog in full and also do some Saturday morning jobs and messages. Reading that post has given me a small appreciation of your viewpoint.

Like you, I am some one who has a very healthy distrust of state sanctioned miss-use of authority. I therefore find it somewhat ironic that in your quest for individual autonomy around suis juris adults deciding for euthanasia you will in fact be assisting opening the door for longer term abuses of state power in this matter that will include non-suis juris adults as well. Perhaps your sister or my daughter - which makes the debate of this potential miss-use of power both personal and immediate for both of us.

I am not a lawyer, but I can think of several ways and 'public good' cases that could be brought over time to extend the definition of what could be applied all in the name of prevention of suffering, humane treatment of people, and what the individual 'would' have wanted if they were suis juris. It will be a fertile playground for the extension of original meaning and definition over time.

If you do not have the imagination to see this that is not my problem - I do, and what I see is possible is truely scary. I just do not trust government, and socialist governmental systems enough to want to open that door at all. So I will fight now.

This is where the point I made regarding abortion law is completely relevant. In the 1970's when the abortion law was debated and past the section of society that was against abortion were told that the issues they foresaw would not happen due to very strong safeguards being included in the legislation. Very strong safeguards were put into the legislation. Experience has shown these safeguards have been sidestepped to achieve a result that is somewhat different to the original legislative intent.

The argument you are making with euthanasia law is that it will only be for suis juris adults with many legal safe guards in place. It is completely touching that despite the protestations on your own blog that you actually trust the 'system' that much.

The argument I am making is once the absolute prohibition on taking life is crossed, then over time, no matter how good the safeguards are, the safeguards will be changed and/or sidestepped and then abuses will start. This is not a matter of if, just how long - any short reading of human history should lead you to observe that. The abuse once it starts will of course include both suis juris and non-suis juris adults. And it will all be done in the name of compassion and relieving suffering.

Mark Hubbard said...

To 12.56

And again you base your argument entirely on scare mongering bullshit.

The only role of the small state it to protect individual rights: a legal euthanasia thus consistent with a free, constitutional republic. We are woefully far away from that, but the state is not going to be in the business of killing people, FFS, when the law is completely about protecting individual volition (to have this choice).

And no, abortion has nothing to do with this debate. I won't let you keep doing that. Look at the overseas jurisdictions - and there a many plus a growing number of them - where euthanasia and assisted suicide are available and cite an example of abuse. Not this generalised 'we'll end up killing the elderly and disabled claptrap'; but a single documented case of abuse?

The safeguards are in place to ensure no abuse. [Although even if you could find one - you won't - that doesn't affect the rights argument, just the need to look at safeguards. And again, given the huge number of people dying on our roads, are you also arguing for a ban of driving?]

Why not stop the scaremongering misinformation, and let's stick to facts. And even more important, rights. Such as who owns my body?

Not a single respondent has yet answered my question of what gives them the *right* to be at my death bed, uninvited, dictating the terms of my death to myself and family. That is thuggish, monstrous arrogance.

Brendan McNeill said...

“Not a single respondent has yet answered my question of what gives them the *right* to be at my death bed, uninvited, dictating the terms of my death to myself and family. That is thuggish, monstrous arrogance.” – Mark Hubbard.

Mark, allow me to take up your very reasonable challenge.

As difficult as it is for you to accept, this debate is not about you alone or your individual deathbed rights. You have chosen to live in a democratic pluralistic society that has been shaped by a combination influences including the Judeo Christian worldview, Greek philosophers and the enlightenment. This society delivers immense freedoms along with some restraints on our behaviour, which thankfully we are still free to debate. It is also a society that has historically been willing to defend the defenseless and those who are unable to speak for themselves.

Therefore, the ‘right’ to euthanasia is one that must be viewed from multiple dimensions. The right of any individual to choose their death (which you advocate) is just one dimension in this debate. The rights of individuals to be free from overt or covert pressure to take their own life is another. The rights of those unable to speak for themselves either because of mental or emotional or even physical dysfunction is another. These people have rights too, and if we simply legislate on the basis of your rights alone, then either to a little or greater extent we abrogate the rights of those who risk being marginalized by that decision.

We also have the responsibility to keep the state out of the euthanasia business for any and all reasons. Do you really trust the taxation state with the power of life and death once it has been granted to them?

I’m not convinced that you can appreciate any of this, which in part may account for your apparent anger at those who hold a differing view, but these people have rights as well and they need to be respected, just as yours do in this debate.

This is a far more nuanced question than the one you have framed with your death bed statement. In order to change the present law which in essence protects all human life, then the proponents of change have to overcome a very high threshold. After all, we are talking here about life and death, not simply a change to decimal currency or daylight saving time.

A claim based upon individual rights alone does not achieve that benchmark.

Unknown said...

Mark, your reply is again instructive about your ability to understand the wider picture and issue.

"The only role of the small state it to protect individual rights" we don't have a small state Mark, and we are highly unlikely to have one any time soon. Shall we keep our discussion to the reality of the state, not some wishful construct of utopia.

"And no, abortion has nothing to do with this debate. I won't let you keep doing that" According to your own definitions you have no right at all to allow me to do or not do anything. If the individual is absolutely sovereign as you claim, then you have no right at all to make such a statement in a debate. I am an individual, hence according to your construct I can say, do, and debate what I like. Who has made you the arbiter of what is and isn't allowed in this or any other debate. The point I have made twice regarding abortion is that the law set up in the 1970's had a range of safeguards that have been subverted when measured against the original intent of the law. These would be the same sort of safeguards that you claim would keep society safe with regard to voluntary euthanasia. You can't have it both ways Mark, try as you might. Either legal safeguards are absolute with regard to life and death matters, or they are not. The point I raise in regard to abortion law is that the legal safeguards have not been sufficient within the intent of the law, therefore long term in regard to New Zealand law and practice it is reasonable to assume that legal safeguards in relation to voluntary euthanasia will be similarly insufficient.

"Look at the overseas jurisdictions - and there a many plus a growing number of them - where euthanasia and assisted suicide are available and cite an example of abuse" The only modern society that has had this type of law in place long enough to have time for abuse to develop is Dutch society. Of course it is in the interest of the state, and the medical establishment to ensure that no reports of abuse are developed or published. However, if you care to look more carefully, and in non state sanctioned fora there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of abuse in Holland. It is a particularly sensitive subject in Europe, so not one that anyone is really prepared to discuss openly. That doesn't mean abuse isn't happening. Again, on this subject Mark, you appear to be very trusting of the state and professional channels of communication that have a vested interest in maintaining the official position.

"The safeguards are in place to ensure no abuse" I think I have elucidated several times why in the longer term it is highly likely that safeguards will be insufficient.

"Not a single respondent has yet answered my question of what gives them the *right* to be at my death bed, uninvited, dictating the terms of my death to myself and family. That is thuggish, monstrous arrogance" The problem with this statement of yours Mark, and your misunderstanding of the underlying issue, is that it won't be just you and your family at your deathbed if you are wanting to undertake some sort of sanctioned voluntary euthanasia.

No one is going to allow you to have the chemicals or euthanasia pill unsupervised - simply because not all families are loving, kind and altruistic. So, if we were to assume that voluntary euthanasia is permitted there will be some sort of state sanctioned authorisation, checks, balances, safeguards and supervision of administration.

There will be a building of procedures, processes, and rules around the administration of the procedure. So, in your quest for the ultimate individual right you will drag in a whole lot of state apparatus, process, and ultimately a state registered individual(s) who will administer and supervise your death. So regardless of your sentiment expressed above - the state will still dictate the terms of your death even within a voluntary euthanasia construct.

paul scott said...

As soon as you resent something which arrives to you care of democracy, and wish not to accept it , you are on very dangerous ground.
I made a submission in favour of assisted suicide.
There was some very progressive thinking over the Brexit result.
The progressives blandly told the world that the vote was not to their liking,
1/ The vote should be held again to get the correct result . [ people like Evolutionist Dawkins , and various other people previously respected ]
2/ The vote should be rerun, and that there should be a majority of 60% or whatever majority was required to prevent Brexit.
3/ The Government should, and is, ignoring the result of the referendum. Our own Nanny Government does this [ smacking and sales assets ]
4/ The people who voted for it are : Old :: Stupid :: Uneducated :: Racist : Rural unsophisticated : Conservatives uggh : and so on

Pick your place in that queue Lindsay, because repeat here is what you say :
”” Ah. Democracy. It's a wonderful thing. Not.
I utterly resent religious people imposing their views on me via legislation - especially as pathetically expressed as these are. ””
As much as I distrust organisations like @ Maxim, @ CATO @ NZ Initiative, who like to instruct us how to think, in what way is this different to what you are saying Lindsay, in this article..
I keep trying to tell David Seymour he is in the liberal libertarian swamp over this. No votes, no pass go. Try Economic policy.
We do not have to give reasons, satisfactory to correct progressive thinkers on how we vote, or how we think, or even our prejudice.. Paul Scott

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Paul, I accept that my original remarks were flippant and have attempted to clarify them in subsequent comments.
However your statement, "As soon as you resent something which arrives to you care of democracy, and wish not to accept it , you are on very dangerous ground."
If that was correct, what would be the point of politics?

Mark Hubbard said...

'As difficult as it is for you to accept, this debate is not about you alone or your individual deathbed rights.'

Oh yes it is Brendan. It is about that. No matter how much lipstick you try and put on your arguments. For you it comes back every time to the fairy tale. You can shove that. God made his son die hideously - crucifixion one of most painful ways to die - for the son to prove his love to the daddy-construct: you want to base your life on an abusive relationship like that, go for it, but don't you dare use that idiot hocus pocus to control my death.

Thanks for thread Lindsay. I've made my point. Others can read and see the arguments against are zealotry, bullying and scaremongering outside the topic.

If I stay any further I just get really angry with these meddling bastards, and I want to enjoy my weekend.

Unknown said...

Mark@6:07. If you want to have any sort of rational debate with anyone you will need to do far better than this rather poor effort.

Your basic premise is you are right, everyone else is wrong and if they don't agree with you then you will get really angry.

Where everyone on this thread has debated you reasonably respectfully you have resorted to poo throwing, name calling, and throwing your toys out of the cot. Hardly the way to impress anyone in a debate on a major long term societal issue.

Lindsay@5:28 and 8:15 you too have expressed anger and 'this is an issue where the gloves are off' but then explained later that perhaps you were being flippant in your comments.

This is your blog, so thank you for broaching this subject and allowing this thread to run.

As I have expressed several times today in the debate with Mark - there are sincerely held and well thought through alternate views to yours, and to Marks. I do not see that there is much ground for the reconciliation of these differing views - so perhaps you should get used to being angry for a while.

Like you I intend to fight with all the skill, resource and wisdom I have been given - after all this is a matter of life and death and worth fighting for. My position is our society will be immeasurably worse, and ultimately far more dangerous for the vulnerable and weak, if voluntary euthanasia is introduced.

I know, accept and respect that you, Mark, and many others will have very different positions to this, and may well react with anger and disbelief to even this statement I have made.

With regard to the progression of law and practice over time, I believe there is ample evidence to support my contention. I am reminded on the idiom "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me".

Since the promises made around the protections in the abortion law (at the start of life) have proved to be so hollow, and protection of the vulnerable in that case has been cast aside and circumvented in the name of progressive 'rights' I will err on the side of caution on the issue of voluntary euthanasia (at the end of life) - so that it doesn't end up being a case of "fool me twice, shame on me"

You will of course know that Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” For me, this is one of those fights. I don't intend to do nothing.

Sorry if that causes you anger or annoyance - it is what it is.

Lindsay Mitchell said...


As you insist on referring constantly to abortion as synonymous with this debate: you do know that the abortion rate is dropping quite dramatically? You do know that before abortion was legalized and made medically safe, thousands were performed illegitimately annually?

My point being that laws cannot control individual morality. With the current freedom to procure abortions, thousands fewer have chosen to since 2007.

You do not need to be the moral guardian of the nation. People will always make their own choices but ask that they (or associates) not be criminalized in the process.

Unknown said...

@Lindsay 8:44: Thank you for your reply. Yes I am well aware of the abortion statistics and the more recent changes and trend-lines. I am also well aware of the situation prior to the legalisation of abortion and that New Zealand women had to go to Australia etc. and all the associated issues that created.

Mark has stated that with voluntary euthanasia legal safe guards will protect us all for any possible abuses. With the only other piece of like 'life and death' legislation in New Zealand - that demonstratively hasn't been the case when measured against the original intent of the legislation. Sorry it had to be the abortion legislation (I know it is yet another sensitive societal subject), but that law is the comparator, and the long term application of that law in the NZ context gives a lie to the concept of the sufficiency of legal safeguards.

"My point being that laws cannot control individual morality" I agree entirely, it is actually pointless - even in the depths of the soviet social engineering people still believed what they wanted to and lived according to whatever morality they chose - just a lot more secretly......if you got on the wrong side of secretly then you ended up dying in the gulag - and therein lies part of the problem historically.

"You do not need to be the moral guardian of the nation" I am not trying to be, just trying to protect in the longer term my family, and by association those who are similarly vulnerable but perhaps not as articulate. I have read a lot of history, and observed a lot in the progression of societies. I have a very dim view of where socialist based societies in particular end up over time in terms of abuse of process and progression of law to achieve the ends of the ruling elites.

As such, I believe that removing the fundamental prohibition on the taking of life, by pleading special mitigating circumstances, is in fact the very thin end of a very large and nasty wedge. Legal safeguards will not be enough over time - they will be subverted and moulded. Building state apparatus and decision making around the legal termination of life will also inevitably be abused in time. To think otherwise is to be utterly naive to historical realities and to the nature of socialist society.

"People will always make their own choices but ask that they (or associates) not be criminalized in the process" That is a very nice plea, but unfortunately it will not ever be just about those people and their choices. Due to the nature of 'scope creep' as one of the other commenters today put it, ultimately if will affect everyone.

Lindsay, you believe what you believe, and will fight for it as you should. I will listen to Edmund Burke and fight against it because of what follows your victory should you obtain it.

Anonymous said...

How do you know thousands were done annually? Can you point me to the data please? I know there were some, but that sounds rather more than is plausible, but as someone who respects the need for evidence, I am sure you know where to find the information.

As I said much earlier, this is a really interesting thread for what it reveals about how people think about the value of the person with a different viewpoint from there. If nothing else, it reveals why so many people are concerned to give others the option of killing them in the name of kindness.

Somewhere way back up you said there was no evidence that the safeguards put in overseas have been ineffective. I suggest you read the peer-reviewed academic research on this such as
It might explain why so many medical associations actively oppose the introduction of euthanasia, and why, most unfortunately, it has led to so many elderly people in countries with it refusing to seek medical care even when they are in great pain.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Lindsay

It was probably inevitable that the subject of abortion was going to be raised in this debate. Euthanasia is about the taking of human life at the end of its cycle, whereas abortion is about taking life at the inception of its cycle. Both abortion and euthanasia for the most part, and without wanting to diminish people’s individual experiences, are about taking human life as a matter of personal convenience. Either one’s own life, or that of one’s unborn baby. There are exceptions of course.

That said, like you I’m delighted that abortions are declining in NZ.

I agree with you that no one can legislate for personal morality. People for the most part will live as they please. At best the law serves as a restraining effect on our worst impulses. It may also serve to inform our conscience about what is, or is not acceptable behaviour.

Our laws are always going to be a reflection of ‘someone’s’ morality. Perhaps in a democracy they are a reflection of our ‘collective morality’. If we are to make good legislation then we need robust and hopefully civil debate on issues like euthanasia, particularly when we face legislative change.

The word ‘morality’ has largely fallen into disuse in polite company, and certainly in political circles because I suspect it has become conflated with moralizing. Where morality is simply a definition of principals concerning right or wrong behaviour, moralizing is what we have come to expect from religious bigots and more recently the politically correct.

Consequently, I don’t believe it is possible to have a civilized public debate on morality in this country any longer. Both the language and the concept have become debased. This in itself is a great pity, because it prevents us from easily talking about our deepest values and those impulses that animate the best in us.

Instead it seems we have been reduced to taking our respective corners, shouting louder and vilifying the ‘other’, rather than engaging in respectful dialog with proposition and rebuttal.

Thank you again for giving the issue of euthanasia another airing.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon said,

"How do you know thousands were done annually?"

I cannot recall or point you to book(s) I have read but the on-line Official Encyclopedic of NZ says:

"From 1927 the Department of Health required hospitals to report the number of women admitted due to septic abortions. In the mid-1930s a department official estimated 10,000 abortions took place each year (compared with around 28,000 live births). Septic abortions were estimated to cause a quarter of New Zealand’s maternal deaths."

Today there are just over 13,000 compared to around 60,000 births (from memory).

"Somewhere way back up you said there was no evidence that the safeguards put in overseas have been ineffective."

Not me. I'm not that well-versed on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Interesting statistics - so one in 4 pregnancies as opposed to one in 6. So the campaigners who thought they were making the barriers lower actually made them higher!!! Really?

Actually the number looks really suspicious, don't you think? So I had a look online and came across the 1937 Select Committee report into abortion here:

It looks like they tried hard to get a handle on what the number was and what they came up with was about 20 in 100 pregnancies ended in abortion. But their definition of abortion included "spontaneous abortion" which I we would call miscarriage; "therapeutic abortion" ie allowed under the restrictive laws of the day; and "criminal" abortion - ie the backstreet abortion.

They conclude that the incidence of "criminal abortion" was about 13 in 100 pregnancies. So far from on in one in 4 it was about one in 9 pregnancies, and it suggests that whoever wrote the Encyclopedia 10,000 was well out of line as the best evidence which suggests about 4,000 (and that is allowing a generous rounding up).

One final point, the 1930s were the decade of the great depression. The introduction of the select committee report makes it clear that the reason why it is being held is that the number of women coming into hospitals from botched abortions and from complications from miscarriages (possibly, one speculates, because the mother's were in poorer health than previously).

This suggests that the one in 9 was the rate at a high point, and they provide some evidence about deaths from septic abortion (remembering that this also covered miscarriage) which showed that in the late 1920's the rate was about a third of that in 1935-36. That would bring the rate of "criminal" abortion down significantly to about one in 11 or 12 pregnancies. Which makes our current one in 6 about double.

I know that this thread is not about abortion - but I thought you would be interested. I hope I am right.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I am interested - thanks. As I said, I can't recall the book that was my original source for the claim of "thousands" but I was happy to cite whatever number it was to a Catholic audience when I was on the campaign trail and wouldn't have done that if I wasn't happy with its authenticity.

Mark Hubbard said...

Last, unusual post. Apologies to Lindsay.

To MACDOCTOR. I hope you see this.

We've just had a good cut and thrust debate on a Whaleoil thread over euthanasia. I was my usual abrasive self because I will not be nice to people who think they have a right to dictate the terms of my death: they are thugs. My nastiness is in part symbolic, but I also mean it.

However, out of that debate you agreed with me that there should be easy access to cannabis as part of the palliative care regime and that yay, we had one thing in common. I posted my first 'nice' post back to that. I said I didn't respect your views, but I respected that you argued your (awful :) ) case on that thread, plus we had two things in common, the second being Star Trek. Also. I think I remember you're in Nelson: well I have a 10 metre screen cinema room an hour and half away in Mahau Sound, we should do a Star Trek sometime.

Ironically that comment, my only nice one, never went up because Whaleoil has put me into a lifetime ban :)

But I wanted you to get it.

I now have lifetime bans at:

Red Alert;
And hilariously, Whaleoil.

Apparently it's my super power. Thankfully I have free speech observing sites like Lindsay's.

Mark Hubbard said...

And unfortunately Cameron Slater has also deleted every one of my comments to that thread, leaving macdoctor's awful arguments against my right to decide my death up un-rebutted - and he finally admitted his Christian beliefs on that thread (I've yet to find someone against euthanasia law who is not a Christian. At the moment in NZ Christians in Parliament are a bigger impediment to my rights to liberty than Muslims in mosques.)

Re Slater's deleting of Truth and history: despicable.

Anyone reading Whaleoil understand that via editing and editorial policy you are not getting free speech, because you can't know what's missing from those threads, and what's being selectively edited. Holding out to be a defender of free speech against the Left who he is every bit as bad as, is rank hypocrisy. It's totally unprofessional. He's a journalist? Bullshit. That site is a cynical, manipulative bigoted Christian sideshow. Dirty politics always meant dirty blogging.

I certainly won't be darkening its caverns anymore. Assess whether you want to.

Blair said...

Mark, I do wish you would exercise this right you claim to have, which nobody is taking away from you. It would be vastly preferable to the whining and bigotry you display against "Christians", despite the arguments against contract killing being largely philosophical and secular ones, happily coinciding with Christianity, since it is in fact a reality-based faith.

The State is quite entitled to prevent contractual murder, as it does other forms of murder, to prevent harm being done. One has a right to kill oneself, but not to enter into a contract with another person to have oneself murdered, or assent to the death of another. It's an important distinction which you continuously fail to grasp.

The argument is not about the merits or otherwise of suicide, and it is disingenuous to continually make those arguments in application to contract killing. While the meaning of one's own life is indeed ultimately a religious question, that's not what is under debate. It is whether one can enter into a contract with someone else to kill you that is being debated, and that is a more practical matter which does not necessarily involve an appeal to a belief system pertaining to the metaphysical.

Redbaiter said...

Sixty five per cent of Christians believe in legal voluntary euthanasia, a poll shows.

Mark Hubbard said...


Contract based killing ... contemptible. As was wishing me dead. Not very Christianly, aye? (Or perhaps it is).

But really, you lost me at 'reality based faith'. Good luck with that.

Red baiter. Interesting stats. Unfortunately the campaign against is being run by a very organised Christian grouping, led, per my first post, by the Catholics, with the chair of the euthanasia select committee, priest O'Connor, farcically their chief marshal. These single sentence submissions are from the predominately Catholic Islander community (by the look of it) who seem to have submitted their bigotry en-mass. Unfortunately this has skewed submissions away from scientific public polling which shows majority support always for euthanasia, and that's damaging because O'Connor and co will be able to forever cite (gamed) submission numbers to support them. By the look of it O'Connor's committee and her personal sabotage will end up doing inestimable damage to the cause of getting a compassionate choice in place for those individuals who want it. I will never forgive National, Key and O'Connor for this. It's despicable.

Mark Hubbard said...

Another point. I don't 'hate' religion. I think it ridiculous that adults base their lives on a at best an absurd fairy tale, at worst, a deeply dysfunctional and abusive father/son relationship, but I couldn't care less. What I hate is when religion, which I believe in letting to as it will so long as it does no harm, doesn't reciprocate that good faith to me in return, and as in this debate seeks to bind me to its value system which I find barbaric and anathema.

It does great harm. Which explains why I'm not prepared to be 'nice' to it.

Anonymous said...

Human rights should not be about the majority. My ability to be able to use voluntary euthanasia in future doesn't require anyone else to assist or even support it. Even if support is in the minority it should still be legalised as there is no negative affect on those who don't wish to have voluntary euthanasia.
I believe that the wishes of the individual should be allowed to proceed in any situation where the expression of those wishes does not do actual harm to others. Yes dying through voluntary euthanasia may offend others but the offense is their decision not mine. I find people who believe in an all powerful being of any sort rather quaint but have no problem letting them believe. Why should they object to my beliefs.

Whaleoil said...

Mark you are a complete idiotwho is prone to amusing assumptions.

Yes I am a Christian, but I also support euthanasia. Yet again you got you tirade assuming my moderator is a Christian when he is in fact an atheist. I support euthansia because I had to watch my mother die in pain and suffering over several months slowly losing her dignity...anyone who has seen this knows what I am talking about. Through your assumptions you just sound like a blowhard internet keyboard warrior.

You were banned not for your beliefs...and your beliefs are as extreme as happy hand clappers...but because your debating style is one of personal abuse in the core beliefs of the other party while demanding and insisting that you are the only one who is right.

Here's the thing you"believe" in your beliefs as much as Christians believe in theirs, in fact probably more so. Worse you are a proselytizing atheist. You insist religion does no harm, yet here you are, a believer in atheism, setting about harming people with your beliefs.

You can't prove that there is no god, you really can't. Just the same a Christian can't prove there is one. That's because they are both belief systems...different sides of the same coin.

You demand respect for your point of view but you have no respect for anyone else' said so in comments on my site.

You have all the sound and fury of a hurricane and all the effectiveness of a fart into the same hurricane.

you can have free speech anytime you like, you just make the mistake of thinking you can use the platform I pay a considerable amount of money for as your soap box. You can't. You can have free speech anytime you like, set up your own blog and give it a crack to to no-one. If you disrespect my commenters and reader , my moderator and me then you really can't expect to be commenting on my blog.

Mark Hubbard said...

I only abused ideas Whale, not a person. Macdoctor was being more than duplicitous until he finally fronted up his Christianity.

Put my comments back up. Comments that were deleted not because of standards, but because you don't like me (or your mod) or my arguments.

No I have no respect for those (Xians) who won't allow me euthanasia choice, when that choice affects them in no way. Do you get that?! I have no respect for them. I will not be nice to them. They're thugs. If the rest of NZ votes against my choice of euthanasia, I am right, they are wrong. Every damned time. Tyranny of majority morality is the dark pit of (in)humanity.

I've done no harm.

And you lecturing me on personal abuse? LOL. Fatuous hypocrisy.

Your MO, Cam, is dirty, personal destruction of people. Don't you dare lecture me on anything to do with morality FFS. Jesus, I've heard it all.

Go back to the pub.

Seriously, Cam, you've fallen down a rabbit hole. Or I have.

Mark Hubbard said...

Here's another thing Cam. Quite apart from I expected much more philosophical nouse than your post, no one reading this can assess whether you're right, or me, because you've deleted all my comments.

You hold yourself out as a journalist, yet you edit comments not on standards, but if you or your moronic, biased mod likes the writer, is having a good day, and agrees with the argument or not.

Do you get it? Your blog is turned into a joke. You an easily offended wuss. What's your word? Panty waister. Well wear the panties mate.

Mark Hubbard said...

Oh, and another. Sorry, you know ... Wine.

You believe my beliefs are extreme.

I believe I own my body, and I should control my dying. I believe I self manage my health outcomes throughout my life; my dying is simply the final part of that adult process.

What's extreme about that?

Brendan McNeill said...

For those with access to Sky television there is a discussion with a pro-euthanasia activist on the SkyNews Bolt Report, 9:00pm Tuesday evening. Andrew Bolt is opposed, but his guest is for it. Andrew promised there would be no shouting. I presume that means no biting or scratching as well.

Redbaiter said...

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

People seriously expecting principles to apply in a political paradigm that has been so degraded by 16 years or more of socialism, that each election is now an occasion for the greater majority of cynical self interested cronyists, parasitical bureaucrats, and other beneficiaries of government largess to auction off their votes to the highest bidder.

You'd have to be low on self respect to be a part of it. You'd have to be foolish to expect any changes to occur outside of the general interest of self gratification and self enrichment.

No politician will dare put his head above the parapet on any issue today. Euthanasia or any other.

We did it to ourselves of course, by over too long a period of time, electing politicians who we knew were frauds and incompetents. So our societies are degenerated. We shouldn't be surprised, we shouldn't even complain really, Its all our fault. We never fought half hard enough.

Brendan- Andrew Bolt is excellent value. There are still some fighters left in Australia. IMHO, there is a far greater number of virtuous citizens there than in NZ. So there's hope still.

Anonymous said...

Of course you are going to get more submissions from religiously minded people. Almost no one else really cares about maintaining any of societies values such as loving and
caring for the most vulnerable. And yes, some of the submissions were not expertly crafted or carefully phrased and many of them exposed their cultural or religious bias but they have just as much value as yours and mine - a submission is a submission is a submission. Literary snobbery Lindsay! There is no reason to assume that their beliefs and opinions were not deeply held and real. A ghastly display of ridicule of the less educated - you should be truly ashamed of yourself. These are possible the people who will looking after you in a retirement village and wiping your dribble and changing your nappies, all the while treating you with respect and dignity - not Mark Hubbard you can be certain of that!

Lindsay Mitchell said...

The prospect of dribbling in a retirement home with someone changing my nappies is exactly why I support the right to die with dignity.

My dismissal of the one page, one sentence submissions had nothing to do with intellectual snobbery. It was annoyance that a large quantity of hastily solicited submissions could be portrayed as an indication that those opposed have greater numbers and should hold sway.

BTW it is arrogant (or snobbery if you like) to claim that "Almost no one else really cares about maintaining any of societies values such as loving and caring for the most vulnerable."

Many who submitted to ask for a law change have been motivated by the love they felt for someone they had to witness dying a horrible death.

MarkT said...

"Therefore, the ‘right’ to euthanasia is one that must be viewed from multiple dimensions. The right of any individual to choose their death (which you advocate) is just one dimension in this debate. The rights of individuals to be free from overt or covert pressure to take their own life is another."

Thank you at least for clearly expressing the anti argument, as invalid as it is.

That sort of conflating argument lies at the heart of every attack on freedom. If you changed the subject to an economic matter you would be rightly regarded as a rabid socialist. Eg: it's not just about your right to trade freely with whoever you want on mutually agreeable terms, but the right of others to not be hungry, to have a house over their head, etc (you fill in the blank).

If you value freedom at all, in any area of your life, you can never accept the argument that the risk of someone abusing a freedom is reason to strip it from all of us. The assumption that it can lies at the heart of every totalitarian state.

Your arguments are certainly more coherent than the mindless scrawls Lindsay has shown us, but at the end of the day it's essentially as Mark states. Your religion tells you something is 'wrong' (just like a socialist who feels that free trade is wrong) - and you can't help but try and force your position on us.

Mark Hubbard said...

Thank you for your beautiful clarity MarkT.

You got it in one.

Jos said...

It is undignified to clean and feed a baby?
Why is it undignified when that same person is old and infirm?
It's not.
It is dignified for someone to care for the dribbling old person and changing their nappy - it is not dignified to kill them.

Lindsay Mitchell said...


The dignity in question does not pertain to the person doing the caring. Nobody is arguing about the dignity of caregiving.

The dignity in question pertains to people who have adult bodies and adult consciousness. Bodies they may have lost control of. And minds they may soon lose.

Can you not discern between the two?

Melissa said...

How dare Pacific New Zealanders express their views in such a clear and heartfelt way - don't they know their place? They should let the more-highly educated palagi tell them what to think like they usually do. After all, it's a big help towards writing longer submissions when English is your first language. Pull your heads in and don't let this happen again.

Mark Hubbard said...

Melissa proves no one seems to understand rights now. It's so sad. My choice of euthanasia places no harm on Islander culture. But Melissa, converted to a dreadful identity politick, would reach into the intimate living of my life and determine my death arrogantly, ignorantly, according to her ethics. Bully. BULLY, Meliisa. And infinitely cruel.

Melissa can go to hell. But she won't even understand why I say that. She will think me a rascist.

I totally despair.

Renee Joubert said...

Lindsay, today a full analysis of submissions were released shattering the assumptions made in your blog post.

77% of submissions are OPPOSED to changing the law on 'assisted dying' (voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide).

Most submissions opposing a law change did not even mention religion. The submissions also show that there are religious people on both sides of the debate.

No, submissions opposing a law change were not all one-liners, as your blog post implies. Even if the one-liners would be discounted, in every length category most submissions oppose a law change.

For more details see

One more thing: People were not asked to comment on Maryan Street's petition or the Lecretia Seales case, as your post claims. They were asked to respond to the Health Select Committee's investigation into 'ending one's life in New Zealand' - with terms of reference that were broader than the Seales case or the petition.