Voluntary Euthanasia believes a law change is coming after Lecretia Seales judgment

Lecretia Seales died on Friday from terminal brain cancer.
SUPPLIED

Lecretia Seales died on Friday from terminal brain cancer.

The time to have a conversation about euthanasia is now, and the law needs to change, a pro-choice group says.

Lecretia Seales, a Wellington lawyer who died of a brain tumour early on Friday, had asked the High Court to clarify the law so that she had the option of having a doctor's help to die if her suffering became intolerable. 

However, Justice David Collins ruled that only Parliament could change the law to reflect her wishes, and that the Seales' doctor would have been at risk of being prosecuted for either murder or manslaughter if she administered a fatal drug with intent to kill.

READ MORE:

* Lecretia Seales court ruling

* Life of passion, determination and autonomy

* Parliament may take up issue of voluntary euthanasia

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand said the result of the case was disappointing, but it was confident a law change would happen soon.

"[Seales] has demonstrated that the time has come for real debate about this issue," president Jack Havill, a retired intensive care medicine specialist, said.

He cited a recent Research New Zealand poll that found 74 per cent of respondents believed people suffering an incurable disease should be able to end their lives in the knowledge that no-one risked going to prison for helping them.

Ad Feedback

There was a clear worldwide trend towards approving end-of-life choice, and judges in Canada and South Africa had ruled this year that denying people suffering painful and terminal illnesses the right to die with dignity breached their human rights, he said.

The Human Rights Commission legal manager Janet Anderson-Bidois said Seales was a brave woman who ignited an important public discussion about assisted death.

"Irrespective of individual viewpoints on assisted dying, it is important that public debate about these matters take place in a robust and informed way.  Key human rights concepts such as dignity, personal autonomy and the right to life must be carefully considered if any legislative change is to be contemplated."

The Care Alliance, which was allowed to be heard in court opposing Seales' case, said the timing of the judgment was poignant and the first thoughts of everybody were with Seales' family and friends, and in particular her husband.

The judge had properly decided that the constitutional role of the court had been to uphold the law, not to change it, Alliance spokesman Matthew Jansen said.

The constitutional context in New Zealand was very different to that in Canada and South Africa, he said.

Right to Life said the judgment showed the laws prohibiting assisted suicide were there to protect the vulnerable. "We change them at our peril," spokesman Ken Orr said.

Euthanasia-Free NZ also believed a law change was not needed.

"Essentially, voluntary euthanasia and assisted-suicide legislation makes it legal for one person to be involved in deliberately causing the death of someone else," executive officer Renee Joubert said.

"As a society we need to do everything possible to relieve people's suffering ... however, this legislation is not the solution."

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Man dead at container yard

The man was critically injured but later died at the scene.

A man has died after getting trapped at a south Auckland container yard.

Phone app's sole purpose

Angad Nayyar is the chief executive of Strutagio, an app designed to help shoppers find the perfect-sized shoe.

Auckland friends develop app that lets customers try on shoes without setting foot in a physical store.

Pregnant? Eat salmon

Freshly cooked salmon carries a low risk of mercury contamination, and is fine to eat when pregnant, Massey researchers say.

Shunning fish during pregnancy for fears of toxicity has meant women are lacking in nutrients essential for a growing fetus.

NZDF to the rescue video

HMNZS Endeavour heads for Marsden Point oil refinery, to help ease the fuel shortage crisis.

The army, air force and navy will redistribute fuel across the country by land and by sea.

Wellington

Wild WOW opening in Wellington video

'Theodore', by Marie Wright and Taralee Freeman, of New Zealand, is modelled in the Weta Workshop Science Fiction section

More than 100 garments made out of everything from bicycle tubes to latex.

Man on fire dies

Cordons were set up around Parliament after the incident.

The man who reportedly set himself on fire outside Parliament has died overnight, police say.

Slip at Rimutaka Hill

The NZTA are investigating a possible slip on State Highway 2 at the Rimutaka Hill.

There are reports of a slip blocking the southbound lane halfway up SH2 at the Rimutaka Hill.

Pregnant? Eat salmon

Freshly cooked salmon carries a low risk of mercury contamination, and is fine to eat when pregnant, Massey researchers say.

Shunning fish during pregnancy for fears of toxicity has meant women are lacking in nutrients essential for a growing fetus.

Canterbury

High temperatures coming

The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean behind Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 north of Big Sur, California, December 19, 2013. ...

Warm air set to bake Australia will hit NZ from Sunday, MetService says.

Third lane approved

Congestion on the northern motorway just south of the Waimakariri Bridge. A third lane for "high occupancy vehicles" has ...

Green light for extra lane and cycleway on the Waimakariri Bridge across SH1.

Astonishing kidnap escape

Police guard a Andrew Cameron's house near Hanmer on Tuesday morning.

With a gun held to his neck, Hanmer kidnap victim jumped from the car he was forced to drive.

People missing from rebuild

OPINION: It's fast becoming apparent the rebuild will take somewhere between the expected lifespan of a heavy smoker and that of Queen Liz.

Waikato

Monster slip chases woman video

A slip, estimated between 10 and 20 hectares, has fallen from private farm land in Waitomo.

Joanne Tapara outran an avalanche of rock and mud that claimed 6 cows, 40 ewes and 70 lambs.

High temps to roll in

The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean behind Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 north of Big Sur, California, December 19, 2013. ...

Warm air set to bake Australia in temperatures above 30C will then hit NZ, MetService says.

Dental pros win $30m Lotto prize

Tina from Taupō and nine of her friends won Saturday's $30 million Lotto jackpot.

Tina from Taupō and ten of her posse are all smiles after winning enormous Powerball jackpot.

Fleeing driver on the run

The driver of a Mazda fled from a drink drive checkpoint in Hamilton at midnight (file photo).

Driver wasn't stopping for the booze bus and managed to run from the crashed car shortly after.

Taranaki

Dementia: a love story video

11092017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/STUFF.  The Ticking Timebomb, a series looking at the rising issues of alzheimers ...

Tom Matiaha's 24 years as a soldier could not prepare him for his family's battle against a hidden foe: Alzheimer's disease.

The 'downhill slide'

11092017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/STUFF.  The Ticking Timebomb, a series looking at the rising issues of Alzheimers ...

He's forgotten how to peel potatoes but fears forgetting his children most.

Unlocking dementia's secrets video

A team of scientists at the Centre for Brain Research  process a human brain that has just been donated.

Dementia has a terrible effect on many Kiwi lives, and the situation will get worse. 

Dementia a life-changing loss for all

Margaret Lacy with a picture of her late husband Peter.

Dementia affects tens of thousands of Kiwis, eventually taking everything from them. 

Manawatu

Birthing centre delivered

Palmerston North's new birthing centre is almost open. Annie Kinloch, left, and Chloe Wright check out the new building.

Pink or blue lights will flash when a new baby is born at Palmerston North's new centre.

No more snooping

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen refused to vote on a new email blocking policy.

The Horowhenua District Council is changing the way it screens emails.

83-year-old dies in crash

A car and a truck crashed at an intersection in Levin.

The man died on Monday after his car collided with a truck in Levin.

The one poll that matters

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and National leader Bill English say the 2017 election race is very tight.

OPINION: The debates have been robust, but the arguing is nearly over.

Nelson

New SHAs approved in Nelson

12072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DERUYTER/ STUFF

The former Green Grocer Store on the corner of Grove St and Tasman St in The ...

Seven new SHAs approved by the Nelson City Council including a tiny house project.

Tight race draws voters

Tasman Makos Pari Pari Parkinson, left, Rupena Parkinson, Siua Halanukonuka and Viliami Lolohea vote at the advance ...

Make your vote count in what's tipped to be a tight race for the Beehive.

Blue whale washes ashore gallery video

A blue whale carcass washed ashore at Glenburn Station in Wairarapa on Wednesday.

A dead blue whale first spotted off d'Urville Island has washed up on a Wairarapa beach.

Working mum sleeping in shed

Cath has been looking for somewhere to live, and is forced to live in a shed with no windows until something better ...

She's separated from her six kids as she struggles to get even motel accommodation.

Marlborough

When the voting's done

Labour candidate Janette Walker has to juggle her work at Crossroads Charitable Trust with her campaign work.

Two will be at the pub, one will be at home, the incumbent has hired a hall. But who will be celebrating?

Leap in rateable values

New capital values across Marlborough show a big increase for Picton properties. (File pic)

Some properties have seen their capital value incease by a whopping 28 per cent.

History can be cool

Archives manager Megan Ross goes through the massive collection at the Marlborough Museum.

"It's 13.4 degrees in here," says Megan Ross, pointing at the thermometer flanked by shelves and shelves of negatives and other memorabilia.

Māori school for everyone

Kiley Nepia at Omaka Marae, which will launch a Māori immersion school next year.

"If this Māori way resonates with other people, then they would be considered as well."

South Canterbury

A toast to the bicycle video

Graeme Simpson is preparing to take a collection of old bikes to Waimate to celebrate 200 years of the bicycle.

Bicycles of all shapes and sizes to be celebrated in 200th anniversary event.

Air plan approved

South Canterbury Regional Air Plan Liaison Committee chairman Mark Rogers with committee members Doug Cleveland, centre, ...

Grey Power president says it was "too much" to expect woodburner rule to be ditched.

Church parking concerns

Lake Tekapo Church of the Good Shepherd. The Mackenzie District Council proposes a raft of measures to reduce the impact ...

Buses may soon have to park further away from Tekapo's popular lakefront church.

Swaps for councils, schools

Aoraki Development CEO Nigel Davenport, who was invited to go on the delegation to sign the agreement, said it was "a ...

MOU will allow council staff to exchange with  sister city and could bring raft of benefits.

Otago

Residents unsatisfied with DQ

Blue Peaks Lodge manager Michael McMillan was appointed to the Destination Queenstown board to represent the ...

Queenstown had a four per cent increase in visitors to about 3.2 million in the 2016/17 year.

Highlanders land prop early

Tyrel Lomax played his first game for Tasman last weekend.

Son of former Kiwis league player will join Highlanders next year after Melbourne Rebels cut him loose.

Fears community heart will be lost

Queenstown Arts Centre coordinator Andie King said an art gallery, community groups and workshop spaces should be ...

The council says the location could provide "a combined Council office and a community heart."

Riley Baker memorial to stay?

Dunedin photographer Riley Baker with his partner, Amy McPherson. He died in hospital from injuries after a tourist ...

Mayor tells Dunedin crash victim's family his ashes can stay put, but NZTA says that's not confirmed.

Southland

70 years and still going strong

John and Joan Welsh with their wedding day photo from 1947.

On September 22, John and Joan Welsh celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Trust announces it will seek review

Community Trust of Southland chair Margot Hishon

The Community Trust of Southland will seek a ministerial review into the circumstances surrounding the departure of its former chief executive. 

Bluff sign bluff

Scottish tourist Geoff Mumford a little confused by the directions for Wellington and Cape Reinga which pointed in ...

Bluff's famous signpost is all over the place.

Voters harassed

Entrance to the polling booth at the Menzies Building on Esk St.

Early voters in Invercargill have been subject to intimidation and verbal abuse on their way to cast their ballots.

Ad Feedback