NZ media largely failed to convey complexity of euthanasia issue


The New Zealand media have, to date, largely failed to convey the complexity of the euthanasia question in their mostly shallow reporting on this issue says Dr John Kleinsman.

He is pleased that the Health Committee Report on the subject noted that complexity.

Kleinsman is the Director of The Nathaniel Centre, the Bioethics Research Agency for the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Nathaniel Centre is however, disappointed that Report does not give the assurances needed by the New Zealand Parliament to change the current law, ” assurances that it won’t pose substantial risks of coercion and abuse for those who are most vulnerable, the elderly, sick and disabled.”

Kleinsman thinks anyone who reads the Report in full with an open mind will left be with huge concerns about the ability of any proposed law to supply adequate safeguards, “the sort of safeguards that would work in the real world.”

Read full media release from the Nathaniel Centre in which the following points are made:

  • The Health Committee report did not engage more with the solid evidence that was presented by many individuals and groups.
  • In the absence of clear and irrefutable evidence that the most vulnerable would be adequately protected on an issue when the stakes are life and death and when a mistake is permanent, the precautionary principle must apply.
  • “It is not up to opponents to prove beyond doubt that a law would be dangerous. It is up to proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide to prove beyond doubt that it would be safe and this Report clearly does not deliver the required level of assurance.
  • The Report identifies, in multiple places, that the desire to ‘not become reliant on others’ and ‘not wishing to be a burden’ is what motivates many to make euthanasia and assisted suicide available.
  • “This reinforces the Nathaniel Centre’s view that a law change would initiate a change in the way society would view the disabled and those who are dying, as well as the way we care for these people.
  • Of even greater concern is that these persons would come to view their own place in society in a much more tentative way.


  • Supplied: Amanda Gregan Communications Advisor – NZ Catholic Bishops – Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
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