Wanganui Public Forum on Euthanasia

A Public Forum on Euthanasia was held in Wanganui on April 23rd 2003.

The idea of holding a forum came about because of what was seen as a 'void' emerging in Wanganui "as a consequence of the high level of media attention given to pro-voluntary euthanasia activists and from the experience in our families of having to come to terms with terminal cancer and a degenerative disease." (From the Introduction of the booklet.)

The forum's convenors, Adrienne Smith and Sue Seconi, "believed that by bringing together people who promoted life and were qualified in specific areas, another view of the subject could be fully unpacked and so become a more thorough source of information for everyone."

The forum was free and 350-400 people attended the meeting. The presentations were published and copies sent to all 116 Members of Parliament. One was sent back.

Forum convener Sue Seconi said, "That was from Helen Clark. I immediately wrote back and asked if it was appropriate behaviour for a Prime Minister to reject a gift!"

The prime ministerial rejection suggests Ms Clark was more than just not interested in the publication - in which case she presumably would have set it aside or thrown it out. In sending it back it was suggested that she seemed to be sending a message of her own.

The Presenters
There is a statement from The Nathaniel Centre of Wellington:
"Society needs laws that help to promote and nurture the gift of life for all New Zealanders no matter what their particular needs are. Laws that diminish the gift of life for any individual inevitably over time diminish the gift of life for the wider community."
The booklet ends with a reflection on being by Joyce Rupp.