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Category Archives: New Zealand society

Euthanasia: in defence of the little moments of true life.

A post I wrote two years ago, that I am reposting in the wake of the End-of-Life-Choice Bill being drawn from the private members’ ballot.

The parallels between birth and death are so strong to me right now. Our family has welcomed a new baby in the last few  days. At one hospital after months of anticipation and physical changes, the pains of birth began, the people began to gather, the moment of transition came eventually at a time no one could really predict. At another hospital across town, after a couple of years of preparation and physical change, the time of transition approached, the people gathered, and no-one knew when death will finally come, we waited, and we watched. At the first hospital a new little life, helpless, sentient, feeling, begins her journey. At the other hospital our Mum, just as helpless, sentient, but not always lucid, prepared, unknowingly, to end hers.

Our mother’s life drew to its end on Monday at the Bethesda Hospital in Christchurch, and I feel so fortunate to have been with her, I and my two brothers. There has been a lot of love and care expressed in word and deed between all of us involved in this process.

In those days leading up to 9.05am Monday 18 May I spent a fair bit of time ruminating about euthanasia. Mum was in favour; she was a paid up member of End of Life Choice and supported the ideas put forward in the End of Life Choice Bill promoted by Maryan Street.  Many’s the time I remember her laying down the law to me that we were to ‘pull the plug’ if she couldn’t enjoy a smoke or a drink and had lost that venerated thing ‘quality of life’.

Well. We reached that point and then some. The person that she was would have been appalled that she still lived, but only a fraction of the life that she used to live. In her final weeks she existed in that liminal space between this world and the next, bed-bound and hand-fed, phasing in, and mainly out of consciousness as Morphine and cancer took away her lucidity.  I would have looked from the outside in, once upon a time, and shuddered at the thought of ever ‘living’ like that.

But the person that she was before her death experienced tiny, intense joys that I would never have thought possible. I gave her a sip from a straw of her favourite Chateau-de-Cardboard 6 days ago when she was having an ‘awake’ period. Her eyes brightened and her eyebrows shot up and the delight on her face was transformative, just for an instant or two. An hour or so earlier she had gazed around at all of us gathered in her little room, and the pleasure she was experiencing, as we talked and laughed around and about her, was palpable, even if she could no longer follow the twists and turns of our words. “This is so good” she said, to no-one in particular. On Sunday night, as I whispered goodbye to her she smiled, said ‘See ya kiddo!’, and winked slyly at me before I kissed her cheek and stole from the room, the last words she said to me. Even then, she was still here and living a life of worth.

Our mother could never have exercised her right to choose to end her life; her cancer-related dementia and the morphine stole her ability to choose months before. And I have to admit a relief at that. There is a scene in the book Still Alice that reminds me of our own situation. Alice, a woman living with Alzheimers, a highly successful professor and professional woman, and member of a small family, decides early on in the progression of her disease that she would kill herself when the time came, once she had lost enough of her faculties that the life she had lived was gone forever. She put some pills in a little black bottle at the back of the drawer in her bedside cabinet. With it she placed an explanatory letter (her own ‘end-of-life directive’) setting out the reasons to her future self why she needs to take the pills and end everything before it’s too late.  As the Alzheimers progresses, we, the readers, know when Alice has passed that point. The thing is, she never knows it. At one point she comes across the pills and the letter, but can’t cohere her thoughts enough to understand the content of the letter or the import of the pills. To the relief of the reader (well, me at least) she eases past that point, going on to live still a life smaller and unacceptable to her former self, but one of worth and joy to her current self.

In my view, which is only a drop in the ocean of views, my mother’s end-of-life journey and the quality of her life is no more a rational reason to retain NZ’s current position on euthanasia that criminalises those who assist others to end their lives, than Lecretia Seale’s own personal story is a reason alone to change those laws. Equal and opposing stories can always be found that support one or another position. Indeed, the euthanasia debate should never, ever be about evaluating or quantifying the relative ‘worth’ or ‘value’ of any human life and the proponents of change to our laws are very careful to adhere to that stance; for example, by emphasising that this is a debate about ‘the right to choose’ to end one’s own life. After all; whose life is it? Those who seek to retain New Zealand’s current position, that assisted euthanasia remain illegal, and a criminal offence under ss 63 and 179 of the Crimes Act 1961, may seek to argue on grounds focusing on the dangers of misapplied euthanasia, and the intrinsic (and therefore immeasurable) value of every life, thereby also avoiding quantifying a ‘worthwhile’ life.

What has confirmed my own position is not so much principles and values affixed to rights and life, although my Christian faith can’t be extricated from the mix of my opinions. Rather, it has been my growing horrified realisation of how vulnerable people like my mother are. We have control over her money; no problem. I and my brothers made the decisions about where she lived, her possessions are ours to do with what we will in practical reality irrespective of legal niceties. I have learned a lot in recent months about the real power I had over my mother’s life. What frightened me is the prospect that I should have had any power whatsoever over her death. My mother would have, without hesitation, signed any end-of-life directive to absolve medical staff of responsibility, or naming me or one of my brothers the decision-maker regarding termination in the event of her mental incapacity. In our family’s case I don’t think the ending would have been any different really, given our personalities and our mix of values and morals and faiths. I could never have carried out any such document myself. I could never have sought to end my mother’s life at any point. But that’s neither here nor there, when it comes to a law changes affecting all of us.

Most cases of euthanasia will occur with the old and terminally ill. And I have no doubt that there are many terminally ill, elderly and incapacitated patients in this country who would have agreed to their own termination but perhaps under duress from their families. Or they would have agreed with no duress whatsoever but may well continue to have moments of life worth living after competence had ended, but can no longer summon the words or thoughts to defend those little moments. And I have learned that those little moments still make a life, a little life, to be sure, but a life of real value nonetheless. Ultimately, even though we try to steer the euthanasia debate away from declarations of the worth of any one person’s life, and articulate the debate as a rights issue, (a right to life, a right to control over one’s life, a right to death..) in the day to day we who have the power to decide would have to make judgments of worth. In the implementation of decriminalisation of assisted euthanasia, will not someone, often not the dying person, have to measure the worth of a life in order to decide when to end it?

Are we really that confident in our own abilities to judge the subjective worth of the lives of others?

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Casual Racism & the Phone Message of Doom

Casual Racism & the Phone Message of Doom

I remember how much like a punch in the gut it felt to hear, at the age of 16, how my then-boyfriend’s mother had said to him, “Well, dear. It is not as if we will ever let you marry a Maori.” He reported to this me with a shake of his head and a laugh, until he caught sight of my reaction. I stared at him with my mouth open, my eyes welling with tears. I had been staying at his house with he and his parents in Wellington, and it was shortly before I was due to leave. She had said this awful thing even as I was staying under their roof. To be honest there was a little bit of context to that remark, he and I had been caught the previous evening in a little bit of a compromising position (cuddling on the same bed fully clothed, with door closed, in 1986, if you MUST know) , and he had been trying to mollify her annoyance. So that was her ultimate riposte; I wasn’t marriageable material anyway, so what did it matter what he did?

Once he saw my reaction my boyfriend realised, I think, how far over the line this comment was, and how painful it had been for me to hear. Actually, funny post-script..when I did leave, he and I went to the airport, and as we waited in the terminal, there was an announcement over the speakers that there was a phone-call for me at the Air New Zealand desk. At the other end of the phone was his mother, apologising to me, and saying how she really didn’t mean what she said, and what a wonderful person I was. And while I never married her son, in the years that followed, when I would visit, she always treated me with the greatest respect, and with real (so I felt) affection. I never held any long-term resentment over the comment; I just filed it away, I guess, under ‘moments that make us figure out who we are, and who we are not.’

I was reminded of that moment when I read about the Marae employee Blake Ihimaera receiving an unwelcome telephone message, when the employee of the car company she was hiring from inadvertently failed to terminate the call, and he and his colleague had a moan about Māori people; they needed to be sent to their own island, and why the hell did they want their own prison anyway. Blake describes the moment she heard the message as being one where the bubble she had been living in burst. She had lived, up until that time in a pro-Māori world, and this moment had shattered that bubble, maybe forever. I absolutely got that, that’s how I felt. I knew, at my tender age then, that there was racism and I knew Māori had had a bad deal (didn’t quite know the details back then) but this was the first time I had really felt belittled directly for simply being who I was.

What I have learned in the intervening 30 years is that this kind of casual bigotry is endemic, but that it is only rarely a means to its own end. When my boyfriend’s mother said what she said, of course it was racist. But it was also designed to hurt him because of the rule that we had broken. I was the means to her end of belittling him and his choices, more than anything else. We say the most awful things to the people we love the most. When I listened to the conversation between the car company employees, I heard that kind of racist ‘locker room talk’ between people that quite possibly don’t know each other all that well, and are looking for ways to connect. And Blake, like me, was the means to that ignominious end.

So in that sense it’s a mistake to call this racism casual at all, there was nothing casual about it in either event. The first example was one of deliberate punishment for transgression, and the second was a deliberate social strategy (so so it seemed to me). The awful thing in that second example is really how easily  Māori people, or any people for that matter, are sacrificed to that long social process of building useful relationships. The things I have heard over my life about Chinese, Samoans, Iraquis, Somalians, Aborigines, when the speaker thinks he or she need a bit of social lubrication to get by, are pretty depressingly awful. Many such bigoted comments have been made by Māori and Pasifika, unsurprisingly. And here’s the thing: they almost always work. The raucous “FAARKthat’s funny!” laughter, the common raised eyebrows, the nod, the half shrug, the quiet ‘yeah, well…’. I have never seen anyone walk out of that kind of personal conversation, and that includes me, although I’m a lot better now at calling that kind of talk bollocks when I hear it, than I was in my 20s or 30s. I have enough social capital that I can afford to lose some of it, you see.

It’s easy enough to say, ‘well just call it out. Call all that racist behaviour out, and if you put up with it you are as bad as they are. Boycott that car company for being racist bastards.’  Yep, good call, consequences change behaviour, right?

Now let’s look at our own lives and see how honest we really are in calling bigotry out when we see it. Or are we actually quite fond of it? Is this a dirty little secret tool that we actually do keep in our kete of social interactions? Maybe lots of us don’t. I hope so. But my theory is we will sometimes put up with or promulgate outrageously untrue statements about large swathes of people we gleefully put to the sword for a moment of fellow-feeling. Or perhaps we do it to make a point, or to punish someone, or whatever our immediate social need is at the time. And social media provides us with the massive echo chamber of bigotry to play around in. This comment on Facebook summed up the problem nicely:

they should be sacked from their job not good enough that this is 2017 and we are still experiencing these racists remarks in our own country Damn white trash is all i can say

Doing it for the likes, right? in fact, 29 as at last count at 5.28pm Monday and three comments; all vociferously in favour.

Ah, basic social anthropology I guess, in group/out group, nothing new to see here. But if we are to preside over the gradual death of ‘casual’ racism in our society we can’t shame it into extinction if we don’t also eradicate our own love of casual bigotry.

So. Sport and weather it is, then…

 

 

A Taniwha by the Tail: Te Ururoa & the Māori Language Bill

I heard the news yesterday and my heart gave a leap. In fact, I think it must have levitated a bit, cos it hasn’t settled in my chest just yet. The Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell has announced that the current Māori language Bill will be enacted in both Māori and English.

So…why does enacting the Māori Language Bill in Māori matter?  Isn’t this just a pro-forma kind of thing? Doesn’t it just add yet another layer of bureaucracy to a baseline of bureaucracy? After all, the Bill will still be enacted in English. The right to speak Māori in Court won’t change; we’ve had that since 1987. Big woop, right? And we have been down this legislative track already, haven’t we? The Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana, and Reputation) Act 2013 was enacted in both languages, after all. The preamble in the Te Ture Whenua Māori/Māori Land Act 1993 is bilingual..and a whole bunch of Treaty settlements have Māori language provisions in them. So why get so excited about this one Act?

I can think of a couple of reasons. For one thing, te reo Māori is affirmed again as a serious matter of law in our Parliament. This has not always been evident.

Actually, due to the recent reshowing of the Operation 8 raids documentary ‘The Price of Peace’, I have been reminded of how Māori is often generally viewed in the context of Western law; in short, as a joke.  Scoop summed up how te reo Māori provided some rare moments of levity during some very boring proceedings in the Operation 8 trials:

The judge wanted to skip reading out the charges, but the defence lawyers insisted on it. The registrar began reading the charges against Emily Bailey. All the charges are joint charges, and the name of each of the co-accused is read out with each charge. This gave the registrar an opportunity to show off that he really can’t pronounce Maori names (which is understandable, because Maori people rarely come before the Auckland district court) [….]

During the break they’d found a Maori woman registrar to take over from the white man, so there was no amusement to be found from the mangling of the names. In fact there was no amusement at all. Just endless exhausting reading of charges, in two hours the court got through seven people’s charges. The endless drone would be a good cure for insomnia, and several people fell asleep, but wasn’t particularly enlightening.

The highlight of this was Annette [Sykes] insisting that Tame’s charges be read in Maori. It was no more interesting than them being read in English, but clearly pissed off the judge and police. We must take our pleasure where we find it in the process of being bored to death.

As much as this piece made me chuckle, there is a subtext here. Māori is not really a language we should expect to hear in Court, other than in the names of defendants. Te reo Māori is a delaying tactic, a cheap ruse to frustrate the officers of justice.

But Te Ururoa’s announcement is not a joke.

For a second thing, this Bill will, once enacted, be different. There is every chance that cases will be decided under the Māori version of the Act. There were several cases decided under the 1987 Act which this Bill will replace. There is every possibility that judges will need to wrestle with the Māori meanings of words and interpret them in a way that reflects the will of Parliament…just like they have to do for the other thousand-or-so English language statutes.

Here there be taniwha, of course. Courts are not well equipped for Māori language interpretation issues, as there are few judges conversant in te reo, and there is little that is really settled about the process of interpretation for a Māori language statute. That is going to have to change. (If you would like to read and learn more on this, have a look at this fantastic LLM thesis by Tai Ahu)

So Te Ururoa’s announcement matters. This development marks the re-emergence of te reo Māori as a normal language of Western law in New Zealand. It used to be thus. Hundreds of land deeds, the Treaty of Waitangi, and numerous contracts were all examples of legal documents that would be routinely drafted in Māori and English, or just in Māori and then translated into English. Government policies wavered and varied over the course of the 19th century, but enabled the generation of thousands of pages of official Māori language law and policy documentation. And Māori could create legal effect. Such policies died early in the 20th century, and, in reality, Māori ceased to be a practicable language of legal enactment well before that. Of course, Māori as a language of Māori law is obviously pretty damn extant, thank you very much.

The potential of Māori to be a language of Western law has never died, as anyone who has ever (showing my age here) written a cheque in te reo knows. But in reality, Māori has been reduced to a language of describing Western law, of commenting on it, on protesting it, of expressing suffering under it. But in our lifetimes Māori has only rarely been a language of making law, within our general legal system. Any language has the capacity to be a fully functional legal language in the legal system of any country. Māori lost that status a long time ago in New Zealand.

So that simple announcement by Te Ururoa means something techtonic to me. Something, I think, has shifted and can’t be put back exactly where it used to be. Nor should it be.

Dawn raids, detention and deportation: the new Australian dream.

It’s hard to soften and cool the little hot knot of rage that has been living in my chest for the past few days. As a child of a trans-Tasman whānau I, or any member of my family could have been caught up in the new harsh visa rules that are now likely to see Australia corral and deport up to 5000 New Zealanders if not more back to this country. Young people who have never truly known any life other than an Australian life, who have made some significant but not necessarily irreparable mistakes, are killing themselves, or trying to kill themselves, to avoid being detained and deported to a strange land where nothing makes sense anymore. That’s what you do when you lose hope, and lose the meaningful connections that hold people, and their mental health, together.

It’s easy enough to take the once-over-lightly view (and I have plenty of Aussie whānau likely to take this tack too)..these current and present deportees have committed crimes, and have been sentenced to be detained for at least a year at Her Majesty’s pleasure. And yes, I can see, in some of these cases, that deportation is at least justifiable, even if not just or fair in the overall context of the Australia/New Zealand relationship. Those who have committed serious crimes, spent years inside, proved more than a passing irritation to Australian society. Sure, I get that. New Zealand has sentenced Mandeep Singh to 12 years imprisonment for murder of his wife Parmita Rani. At the conclusion of his sentence he will be deported back to his home country. Fine by me. Sometimes your own actions can revoke your right to be in a country not originally your own.

There will be several, maybe even scores or hundreds of New Zealanders like Mandeep Singh. We created those people, we raised them, they are our problems, and maybe even our monsters. Send them back here, and let’s suck it up.

But the tightening of the visa rules under the Migration Act 1958 late last year have introduced changes that, at first glance, probably look minor, but are clearly having major effects on people that are to all intents and purposes Australian-made.

Lowered Threshold

So to clarify exactly what the problem is, and what the law now says: at issue is whether the person with the visa has breached the character test requirements of the visa.  It is now deemed to be a ‘breach of character’ to have a ‘substantial criminal record’. Here’s what the changes mean:

  • Prior to December last year, a ‘substantial criminal record’ meant being sentenced to at least 2 years in jail. That limit is now 12 months (and note: sentenced not served)
  • Further: no account is taken of cumulative sentences. If you have been sentenced to 2 x 6 month sentences to be served concurrently, that now counts as 12 months (prior to December last year, it would have counted for 6 months total.
  • A suspended sentence of twelve months also counts.

This lowering of the threshold is a widening of the net. Here’s the thing. I know people in my own family who have driven while disqualified. I’m not sure if they know, but the penalty for a first offence is often up to 6 months imprisonment (varying by state). Subsequent offences might carry up to two years. So, having lived in Australia for all your remembered life, be bloody stupid 10 years ago and having racked up a couple of DWD offences, maybe an EBA, get sentenced 6 months on 2 cumulative sentences, serve two..and BOOM. You can now expect a knock at your door at 3.30am in the morning. A pre-“dawn raid”, then.  Say goodbye to the kids. And your husband, and your job and everything you’ve ever known of the life you now live. Sound extreme? OK, make it petty theft then.

Gee, that’s fair.

And what gets me is how this disproportionately affects New Zealanders. There has been an unexpected surge in numbers since December of NZers having their visas cancelled, and now NZers are 2nd largest group in detention in Australia behind Iranians. Let me take a moment there…Shet. DETENTION. I never imagined I’d be writing about NZers in Australian detention camps. It had quite literally never occurred to me. And I get too, that NZers are not the only ones to be suffering now at the hands of Australian authorities; the plight of detainees on Nauru is not any less shocking. This is not an appeal to difference on NZers being somehow better than or more worthy of compassion than other groups. But the position of New Zealanders is quantifiably different in ways that makes this whole situation feel like a betrayal.

Disproportionate effect on whānau

Why does this development disproportionately affect New Zealanders? Well, other than the sheer numbers of New Zealanders in Australia at any given time, New Zealanders and Māori New Zealanders are not that likely to take out Australian citizenship. My father, who lived in Australia from 1970 until his death a couple of years back never did. Neither have most of the rest of my family. They have no intention of ever living in NZ, they are Australian, either by birth or by choice and by sheer weight of years and culture, but their connection to our whakapapa may be what keeps them from seeking citizenship, some loyalty to the idea of the whenua, even is only in the abstract.

In 1973 our two prime-ministers concluded a handshake deal that led to the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement..not a creature of statute, not an “international treaty”, but an understanding about the special relationship the two countries have shared for many decades. It is directly as a result of that relationship New Zealanders are less likely than any other immigrant group to take up citizenship. And now, more likely than almost all other groups to suffer detention. Talk about a set up.

And more…Māori are even less likely to take up Australian citizenship, for a host of reasons, and Māori are, as Paul Hamer says, at greater consequential risk of disenfranchisement within Australia than just about any other group. They are less likely to have resident visas, less likely to have the right combination of skills required for them to become permanent visa holders, therefore there is no path to citizenship, no social security support if it all goes pear-shaped, and their kids in turn, are also less likely to become citizens, and, maybe (as a result of that fragility and disengagement) at higher risk of committing low level crime, you know, the kind that gets you cumulative sentences of three or six months..

So it seems to me that our Mozzie whānau are more likely, as a consequence of all these factors coalescing into a grim pathway, to get that 3.30am knock. Time will tell if this is right.

So my whānau may be at higher risk of suffering for past bad decisions than other families might be, and not because they have acted so much worse than other people, but because of their deteriorating status, that they may not even be aware of.

Social Covenant?

There are hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders in Australia making that country a better place. What the hell are they now? Vermin to be quarantined and eradicated to score political points? I know that when we talk about the social contract we usually mean the contract between a state and its citizens. I think there has been a kind of social contract or covenant between Australia and New Zealand by virtue of custom. At some point, New Zealanders form some kind of agreement with the Australian state to form the society in which they live just like other Australians do; they become so ingrained into the Australian way of life, directly because of the existence of this historical relationship, that there is some kind of obligation on the Australian state not to impose a disproportionate burden on those people because of their lack of an Aussie passport. New Zealanders can live all their lives in Australia, growing up as Australians and make the same kinds of mistakes that other Australians make, for which they pay in the Australian criminal justice system which their taxes maintain. Fair dos. Why are they being punished again for a status they likely could not help in the first place? Sure the imprisonment is the entry level qualification, but make no mistake, this is an issue of status, and discrimination on the grounds of that status.

For goodness sake, Australia. Treat your Australian-raised New Zealand-born Australians like other bloody Australians.

Memo to TV3 and TVNZ and Stuff: grieving children’s tears are not for our public consumption

I have better things to do this morning than punching a keyboard with barely suppressed rage; I am not often full of righteous wrath – but here I am. The deaths of Tej, Tika, and Prem Kafle are obviously newsworthy. This fire in Waimate was a dreadful event, the devastation it has wrought deserves wide coverage. I get that. I also get why both major networks last night filmed the funeral held by the Nepalese family. Funerals are often public expressions of grief, and while some might find the presence of cameras intrusive, I understand that there can be public interest in death and the commemoration of it, although sometimes I do wonder if funeral footage occasionally slips into prurience.

The fact that the funeral was so soon, no doubt in accordance with custom, and that it was clearly an expression of the grief of the Nepalese community all made the funeral newsworthy. I have no problem with that. The family clearly welcomed the media, and consented to all the filming that took place.

What I have a huge problem with was the cameras being directed at the three orphaned daughters who articulated their grief and experience for us. The media collectively (because this footage is on TV3, TV 1, Stuff and the NZ Herald website too, I only hope that MTS does not follow suit) crossed a moral line in showing us Tulsi, Manisha and Mamata and giving us lingering closeups of their tears. Mamata is 11. Manisha is 17. Tulsi is 24. Just because she is an adult does not render this footage acceptable.

After sitting through yet another rendition of their grief during Newsworthy last night I tweeted them (somewhat snarkily I admit..) in response to one of their promo tweets:

Tonight we’re on at 11.00pm. We’ll have all the news you need plus an orangutan kissing a woman’s baby bump

Please explain why we need to see the Waimate fire survivors grieving for our light ent? Worth watching?

The Newsworthy twitter account responded to my querying their decision, by saying

hello, it’s not light ent; it’s news. We were invited by the family to film, and accepted. We don’t think it was gratuitous.

The fire was news, the funeral was news. The sisters huddled together in their bed taking comfort in one another less than 48 hours after losing their parents and their brother is not news. Perhaps the networks might argue that because Tulsi, Manisha and Mamata gave an account of what happened from their perspective, that account justified the closeups. There were other ways of incorporating their accounts without the greedy closeups. Consent does not take away the wrong that was done here to the younger girls at least, in particular to Mamata.

These networks have allowed themselves to be seduced by the notion that they were ‘invited’. By all means; that is a privilege, and not one to be lightly refused. But someone should have used their head when deciding which footage to screen and thought ‘hang on, is this fair to this family? Would we do this with other families? Should we really apply a different standard here simply because we have been invited?’

And in all honesty I wonder: would these networks have run such extraordinary footage of Pākehā children suffused with grief? I’ve been racking my memory for incidents where we have exposed Pākehā child victims of such tragedy to such intense coverage. The only thing I could think of where such raw grief has been exposed was in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake. A photo published by the Press of Kent and Lizzy Manning on the moment they lost their mother in the quake was heavily criticised for being not in the public interest. The editor of the paper Andrew Holden justified his decision on the basis of the local public interest in the quake catastrophe. There may be other examples.

The fact this family is Nepalese and culturally open and generous about their grief is not an excuse for us to court and then consume it. We should not be applying looser standards in protecting children from media glare just because they are Nepalese children.

Gratuitous? Of course it bloody was.

Ki a rātou te whānau pani ka nui te aroha. Ki ngā mate, haere, haere, haere ki ō koutou tūpuna.

Tony Robertson and victim invisibility in our criminal law

Tony Robertson and victim invisibility in our criminal law

I spent a little time last night reading through the transcript and decision of Tony Robertson’s 2006 trial for charges including abduction for the purpose of sexual connection. As a way to feel good about the human condition, I don’t recommend it. The unravelling toilet roll of Robertson’s lies is as awful as the eventual uncovering of what actually happened on the two days in December 2005 which culminated in him abducting a five-year old for obviously sexual purposes. Only by sheer luck and great intuitive policing was this little girl saved from a fate more serious than she had already endured. The man who rescued her quoted her as saying, once she was safe, “That man hurt my heart”. I can imagine my own five-year old girl saying exactly that kind of extraordinarily insightful yet breathtakingly simple thing in such a situation. This reading was all the more depressing, knowing how many years went by as Robertson continued to deny his culpability and shift blame on to any person within handy reach, and, ultimately, what he did to Blessie Gotingco.

Mentioning Blessie’s name reminds me of how almost impossible it is to involve the idea of the victim in the discussion of serious criminal liability as a fully realised person. I never knew Mrs Gotingco and somehow usual statements such as ‘my heart goes out to the family’ seem so inadequate. Nevertheless, ka nui te mihi ki a rātou o tēnei whānau kua pāngia e te pōautinitini.

Sometimes writers and programme makers can flesh out the victims of serious crime, allowing these people to at least have some degree of identity and personality that mere case reports can never achieve. But even so, except for the family, victims become easily simplified in the public eye; a kind of full stop in the account of somebody else’s life.

Garth McVicar was quite right when he said on breakfast TV on Wednesday morning that criminal justice system is criminal-centred. Those who suffer crime are not the system’s core concern, those individuals who create it are.

In saying that, victim consciousness has certainly increased within our criminal justice system. Mechanisms such as victim impact statements and victim notification processes under the Victims Rights Act 2002 are two examples that seek to enable victims to be factored into the operation of the system. Restorative justice has also developed greatly since the mid 1990s as a means of enabling victims to be involved in a face-to-face meeting with offenders as part of a process to somehow ameliorate the harm suffered from criminal offending, where appropriate. For very serous offending restorative justice will not often be preferred by victims. Nevertheless very recent amendments to the Sentencing Act 2002 have centralised restorative justice, by making it an ‘opt out’ process rather than ‘opt in’, and accompanied by an increased budget for restorative justice around the country.

There is great hope that restorative justice can lead to lower recidivism and better experiences for victims, although extensive evaluation of the success of restorative justice programmes in New Zealand is somewhat limited.

But none of these things change the fact that criminal liability in our system inevitably focuses on the actions and thoughts of the individual or individuals who cause harm to others. The ‘others’ in our system only figure in order to determine the nature of the harm they suffered.

I am always reminded of this fact when lecturing classes on criminal law. I did a lecture on culpable homicide the other day, talking about a case where a man had stabbed his pregnant partner and the unborn baby died as a result. I was using this case to illustrate the application of s159 of the Crimes Act 1961 (whereby a child can only be considered a human being once born, and the term ‘homicide’ cannot legally be applied to an unborn child killed in the womb).

Every class illustration like that is another moment in the parade of victims that underpin the development of our criminal law. The raped woman, the neglected child, the forgotten elderly mother, the mutilated man, the hurt, the wronged, the deceived, the killed, the hidden, the taken. In our general legal system criminal law students, teachers and practitioners are expected to wrench their analysis away from their feelings of sympathy in order to  look dispassionately at questions of criminal liability, or at matters of proportionate sentencing (for example). That’s a necessary legal skill, and we teach it with gusto from the beginning of a legal career: to separate ourselves from the legal problem. We are trained to maintain something of an operative fiction that we can truly separate our emotions, our prejudices and our own histories from a legal problem, even as it is the messiness and flawed, even corrupt humanity that creates that legal problem in the first place. And of course it is naive and ridiculous to somehow assume that the methods we teach at law-school are merely rational and effective and thus value-neutral. I am yet to come across any process or theory that is value-neutral.

Quite literally, the approach is necessary because this is the way the system is wired. Criminal legal liability in the Western legal system requires an individual or individuals to demonstrate some degree of fault that ties that very person to that very harm prohibited by the wording of the offence. (There is no crime in NZ except those written in statute). Just causing a serious harm to another person is not enough, even though the harm caused is what first appalls us in news reports, and in our general understanding of the world. Even killing someone may not be enough for one person to be punished.

For the offences that cause serious harm we generally need to prove the person charged DID the deed and that this person MEANT to do do it, or had a pretty clear understanding she could have caused the harm and barreled on regardless. And sometimes we hold people responsible for actions and harms they caused because they failed to live up to some kind of reasonable standard of behaviour.  None of this analysis pays any attention to the person or persons harmed. The victim exists only as proof that something bad has happened. The final link at the end of the causal chain.

This effective victim exclusion was not inevitable, but has developed after centuries of legal development. Where once crime had  been a matter of private law (of the ‘welfare of individuals’, in Roman law, for example) between the offender and the victim, only mediated by the State/courts, modern criminal law as we now understand it eventually shifted into the public realm entirely.

At that point crime ceased to be a private matter; it became public, a matter of concern primarily of the State. Crimes are committed against the State; and only the State, not wronged families, have the right to punish crimes. The victim and the victim’s family were effectively and progressively excluded from the process of determining liability and punishment.  As Markus Dubber identifies:

In this view of criminal law, the state is the ultimate victim of crime; the most serious— purest—crimes are offenses against the state; all other offenses are watered down versions (splinters..) of the ultimate offense of interfering with the authority of the state, of acting beyond one’s inferior status as a member of the state household; these inferior offenses are indirect state offenses insofar as they compromise the state’s ability to govern, for instance, by depriving the state of a resource (human or otherwise)18 or through disobedience of a state command…

Other legal systems even today don’t necessarily follow this template, and criminal law can still be considered a private concern, as is the case in French criminal law, for example.

However it is necessary to perhaps look further afield for examples of legal systems whereby the victims, the victims’ families as well as the families of the offender can remain connected in determining criminal responsibility and punishment. For example the practice of Qisas in Iranian law involved, for certain offences, a retributive but strictly proportional punishment based upon the personal harm caused to the victim. This is the kind of punishment known as ‘an eye for an eye’. The victim’s family can, in certain cases exhibit mercy and require monetary compensation instead.

There must be less harmful ways of enabling victims in our legal system to have a greater centrality, and we don’t have to do what we have always done. How we can achieve that requires imagination of what a just victim-centred system might look like that avoids the risk of victim-focused retributive barbarity on the one hand and victim-exclusion on the other. Can it be possible to explore ideas of collective, rather than strictly individual criminal responsibility? Restorative justice is the best shot we have come up with so far. What else can we do?

“A House with Many Rooms: Rediscovering Māori as a Civic Language in the Wake of the Māori Language Act (1987)”

Just happened across this, an address I gave last year at the launch of Rawinia Higgins, Poia Rewi and Vincent Olsen-Reeder (eds)The Value of the Māori Language: Te Hua o te Reo Māori (Volume Two, Huia Publishers, Wellington, 2014). (click the link: Māmari Stephens | Media Centre.)

Spitting tacks as competitive sport; a Friday night rant

I have to get this out while I am still spitting tacks. In fact, in my mind’s eye I can hear the little ‘plick, plick’ sounds as little upholstery tacks spray my computer screen. What has caused this screen-denting fury? I wish it was climate change or workers’ rights, or some event in the world that would prove I have the soul of an activist. But no. It’s just an opinion piece; a little mind-burp that pushes the kind of buttons that read ‘Take that, feminazis of the PC brigade!’ blah, blah. Usually these things pass me by and I take little notice. Nevertheless, this one got me. A Melbourne columnist has opined that women’s sport is simply inferior to men’s:

Like most sports fans, of both sexes I hasten to add, I prefer to watch the very best in their chosen field and in just about every major sport, the male competitors are vastly superior to the female equivalent. That’s not merely an opinion, it’s an indisputable fact and to say otherwise is to deny human biology.

Women may be smarter and more skilful than men in many areas but when it comes to size, strength and speed, the male of the species has the fairer sex well and truly covered. They can run faster, jump higher, throw further.

So why would I watch the WNBA when I could watch the NBA? Or women’s football instead of the AFL? Why would I or anybody want to watch an inferior product?

See, what riles me is not actually the proposition that women don’t throw a ball or run etc as fast as men. I actually don’t care that biology creates such a division. I can see why women’s sport tends to attract fewer sponsors, less money and less media time. I love it when we do celebrate women’s success in sport, as in our rowers in the olympics, or other athletic sports, or netball, and I want better visibility and financial support for women’s sport, but I can see the pragmatic and hard-nosed side of the argument that says ‘women’s sport often attract less attention and therefore female athletes will be paid less.’ I don’t really get offended by that debate.

One main problem with Rita Panahi’s perspective is that she only judges women’s endeavours in comparison with men’s. Women’s sporting efforts can only have validity if they are equal to, or greater to, men’s. Panahi cites the match up between the Williams sisters and Karsten Braasch in 1998 as a prime example; when in response to a challenge, he beat them both beating Serena 6-1 and Venus 6-2. The fact that the author even chose this story says volumes about the regard in which she holds women’s sporting efforts. No matter who the Williams sisters beat; if they have a vagina, it doesn’t count.

But that’s not really what we do, as sports watchers. I don’t watch Serena smash the ball and think “yeah, but Djokovic would do it harder”. I watch to see what Serena’s opponent does in return. I don’t watch Lisa Carrington power down the course thinking “yeah..but Mahe’s faster, if his guts are right”. I see Lisa in her context, and Serena in hers. It’s the competition in front of us that defines the competitors, not the shadowy ones that aren’t even on the field. This can be a little harder for me with some team sports, but it’s really not hard to watch any good sporting competition in its own context for the joy it affords. Why else do we watch school sport? Paralympics? it’s competition, baby! Many of us have some kind of atavistic, emotional response to a good sporting competition and it doesn’t matter who the hell is playing.

But even Panahi’s testosterone preference is not what annoys the tacks out of me (although it gets pretty close). We can argue about the quality of women’s competition until I run out of tacks. But really, what turns me into a kind of frothy Gatling Gun is what this kind of writing means for our girl children. Why the hell would any girl bother to play competitive sport in any age group with this kind of joyless literal one-upmanship?

I’ll never forget Glenn Osbourne saying on the Code years ago on MTS when talk turned to Netball. “Pfft” He reckoned. “Who cares about netball.” And changing the subject back to the real sport; union or league, I forget which, never mind that many young girls watch shows like that for when their stars appear. I had a young friend who was playing netball at intermediate at that stage. She was watching, and her mother told me the next day that her daughter was so gutted to have her chosen sport thrown away like some used snot-rag. Now I have a daughter of my own, and I have no idea if she’ll be sporty. But if she does travel down that road, she should be encouraged to play, to compete and to love sport, if that’s what lights her fire.

For Panahi to say:

But here’s a shameful confession that will no doubt enrage the sisterhood: I couldn’t care less about women’s sport.

she is not actually engaging in a measured critique of pay packets and media exposure and sexual exploitation that some of the article purports to be (which I don’t object to). She’s really saying ‘Girls, don’t bother.’

And I just hate that. But I’ll leave the last word to another Australian columnist Megan Maurice who refuses to be outraged and just treats Panahi’s words with the flippancy they deserve:

Back at home, the Australian netball selectors defiantly named an entire team of women to represent the Diamonds at August’s Netball World Cup in Sydney. This is despite Panahi’s assertion that women aren’t much good at sport really and no one should bother watching them.

It will be a real blow to the more than 18,000 spectators who have already purchased tickets to the sold out World Cup final when they realise they’ve all come to watch a bunch of women. Let’s hope this move isn’t too costly to the Diamonds.

Te Ururoa and Shark Week on Māori TV

Te Ururoa and Shark Week on Māori TV

Right. Disclosures. First up, I voted Māori Party in the last election and have personal relationships with one or more people connected to this story. Make of that what you will.

What do we make of the allegations of interference in MTS programming by Te Ururoa Flavell or his staff? If you haven’t caught up on the emails here they are. In them, Māori TV approaches Te Ururoa’s office to ask for his participation in a panel to discuss Whānau Ora in a forthcoming episode of Native Affairs. The mail trail alone is not particularly spectacular, or rendolent of scandal. David Farrar is of the opinion that these are ‘absolutely routine’; there can indeed be quite intense negotiations between MP staffers and media people about the nature of appearances made by those MPs on TV programmes. And then there is the added pungence of a meeting scheduled with MTS executives and Te Ururoa, after which the decision was made to cancel that particular show. To summarise:

  • MTS asks for Te Ururoa to appear on the show.
  • Te Ururoa’s press secretary says (effectively)  “Minister happy to come on, but I’m not sure of the format. Why speak to a whole bunch of politicians, including from New Zealand First? Have you considered talking to Whānau Ora practitioners instead? Would you like some phone numbers?”
  • For their part MTS says “Please can the Minister come on? Yep, we are considering those perspectives, it’s important to get this kaupapa aired.” “Really glad he can come on.”
  • [meeting between Te Ururoa and MTS executives]
  • MTS: “Oops, hang on, show has been cancelled, our apologies.”
  • Press secretary: “Oky-doke, thanks for the update.”

So. Just as DF says, right? No drama, just a polite negotiation. But of course, Te Ururoa is not just an MP, he’s a Minister. He’s one of THE Ministers responsible for MTS. This doesn’t change my own opinion that there was no political interference whatsoever, but I can see why this exchange might warrant a second glance. So, here is my second glance. The first port of call is to go the the legislation: the Māori Television Service (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori) Act 2003

10     Independence of Service

  • (1)The responsible Ministers, or any other Minister, or any person acting by or on behalf of or at the direction of any Minister, or Te Pūtahi Paoho, or a member of Te Pūtahi Paoho, or a director acting without the authority of the board, must not direct the Service, or any subsidiary of the Service, or any director, officer, or employee of the Service in respect of—

    • (a) a particular programme:

    • (b) a particular allegation or complaint relating to a particular programme:

    • (c) the gathering or presentation of news or the preparation or presentation of current affairs programmes:

    • (d) programme standards.

I’ve bolded the relevant words where issues might be said to arise in this case. This is where the tyre hits the tarmac for Clare Curran, and Andrew Little who is rapidly sniffing large rodents as they both trumpet that Te Ururoa “broke the law”. The key word here is “direct”. The Minister must not direct the Service, for example, in respect of ‘a particular programme’ or the gathering or presentation of news or current affairs. The most basic rules of statutory interpretation mean we have to take the natural and ordinary meaning of words, and we also need to see how the word is used elsewhere in the statute and not just to impose a convenient meaning that best fits our desires. So, according to the Concise Oxford ‘direct’ means to ‘control the operations of’..something, and ‘to give orders to’ someone. The Act doesn’t define the word ‘direct’. But it does use it elsewhere. And the word gets used gives us clues as to what Parliament meant by its use. What do the responsible ministers direct? Did you know the responsible Ministers and the chair of Te Putahi Paoho may ‘direct the board to amend its statement of intent’ under s16(1)(d)? Neither did I. Even more fascinating:

under s24B(1)(a)  responsible Ministers must— (a) direct the Secretary for Radiocommunications to, and the Secretary must, transfer from the Crown to Te Pūtahi Paoho management rights to two 8 MHz ultra high frequency ranges, within the limits of 502 to 694 MHz, for the period from 1 December 2013 to 30 November 2033

and back to that ol’ statement of intent thing, under s34(1)(a) [and (3)]

the responsible Ministers and the chairperson of Te Pūtahi Paoho jointly direct an amendment to the statement of intent…

It looks to me very like the word ‘direct’ has been chosen by Parliament to reflect a notion that the Minister has very limited powers to direct certain things to happen, and then, ‘direct’ is restricted to the sense of  “give  orders” to inferiors in the decision-making process. Directing, in the context of this Act clearly means to order an inferior. This is what the Ministers MUST NOT DO in s10, as set out above.  I don’t think the word’s relevant meaning in the context of legislation is intended to stretch to include statements of opinion, or advice or suggestion. Simply put, the Ministers must not give orders to MTS about any of its programmes, or about the gathering and presentation of its news and current affairs.

OK I realise context means something, and that the person receiving advice or suggestions might perceive an order in there somewhere. That’s why I don’t object to the questions being asked, I just can’t see very legitimate grounds for finding that there is any kind of ‘directing’ going on in the email exchange. It’s a pretty long bow to draw to claim the following statement even begins to emulate where a Minister’s proxy/employee might be considered to ‘direct’ MTS in respect of a particular programme or in the gathering of news ect:

I’m just not convinced that you’ll enlighten your viewers by having a panel of politicians talking about Whānau Ora. Have you considered interviewing whānau, providers or the commissioning agencies as well? Or iwi/other Ministers on the Whānau Ora Partnership Group. Happy to help with contacts if you want them.

Not only is this not ‘directing’ as the Act seems to use that word for what the Ministers do, I don’t even see how this reaches a threshold for political interference. The programme was being planned, the talent was prepared to go on, regardless of the presence of other MPs. I’m really struggling to see political interference. What I see are common sense suggestions. Why not have fewer pollies and more practitioners on a show like this? The emails alone are bolstered by the temporal coincidence of the planned meeting between Te Ururoa and the MTS executive. It was after this meeting that the show was canned. I can’t speak for the meeting from any kind of direct knowledge, but Te Ururoa stated in Parliament:

I met with the chief executive officer of Māori Television once in May 2015. The meeting itself had been confirmed in my diary since February 2015, when I believe I had my first meeting with him. I did not discuss, and do not discuss, planned news items or editorial decisions, as those are matters for the staff of Māori Television to consider.

Sorry to be unfashionable but there is nothing here to persuade me to think this meeting was anything other than the two participants said it was. Because Clare Curran has helpfully provided evidence to confirm this statement in releasing the memo from Pāora Maxwell to staff setting out what was discussed:

On Wednesday I met with the Minister of Māori Development the Hon Te Ururoa Flavell. It was an opportunity to outline our plans for the coming year. We talked about our strategic pillars, partnerships and alliances, people, communications/brand content and multi-platform. The minister was very interested in our progress and supportive of our direction of travel. He has very clear objectives around Māori language speakers and he wants Māori TV to be part of that journey.

[Actually, of far more concern was Paora’s observation a couple of paragraphs down that Find Me a Māori Bride “might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s important that Māori TV caters for everyone’s tastes”. If that’s not damning with faint praise I don’t know what is!]

So we have a meeting with a clear ‘reporting’ agenda and a series of emails about setting up an interview, and a provision is an Act whereby a responsible Minister may not direct MTS about a programme. These puzzle pieces don’t fit. Not unless you force them and slather them in Krazy Glue. You want want puzzle pieces that do fit? The long parade of resignations of high profile journalists at MTS and the chopping and changing of current affairs/news programme content by MTS executives. There’s a common denominator there, his name is Paora. Now there’s a story. Not that anyone at Māori TV can tell it.

Euthanasia: in defence of the little moments of true life.

The parallels between birth and death are so strong to me right now. Our family has welcomed a new baby in the last few  days. At one hospital after months of anticipation and physical changes, the pains of birth began, the people began to gather, the moment of transition came eventually at a time no one could really predict. At another hospital across town, after a couple of years of preparation and physical change, the time of transition approached, the people gathered, and no-one knew when death will finally come, we waited, and we watched. At the first hospital a new little life, helpless, sentient, feeling, begins her journey. At the other hospital our Mum, just as helpless, sentient, but not always lucid, prepared, unknowingly, to end hers.

Our mother’s life drew to its end on Monday at the Bethesda Hospital in Christchurch, and I feel so fortunate to have been with her, I and my two brothers. There has been a lot of love and care expressed in word and deed between all of us involved in this process.

In those days leading up to 9.05am Monday 18 May I spent a fair bit of time ruminating about euthanasia. Mum was in favour; she was a paid up member of End of Life Choice and supported the ideas put forward in the End of Life Choice Bill promoted by Maryan Street.  Many’s the time I remember her laying down the law to me that we were to ‘pull the plug’ if she couldn’t enjoy a smoke or a drink and had lost that venerated thing ‘quality of life’.

Well. We reached that point and then some. The person that she was would have been appalled that she still lived, but only a fraction of the life that she used to live. In her final weeks she existed in that liminal space between this world and the next, bed-bound and hand-fed, phasing in, and mainly out of consciousness as Morphine and cancer took away her lucidity.  I would have looked from the outside in, once upon a time, and shuddered at the thought of ever ‘living’ like that.

But the person that she was before her death experienced tiny, intense joys that I would never have thought possible. I gave her a sip from a straw of her favourite Chateau-de-Cardboard 6 days ago when she was having an ‘awake’ period. Her eyes brightened and her eyebrows shot up and the delight on her face was transformative, just for an instant or two. An hour or so earlier she had gazed around at all of us gathered in her little room, and the pleasure she was experiencing, as we talked and laughed around and about her, was palpable, even if she could no longer follow the twists and turns of our words. “This is so good” she said, to no-one in particular. On Sunday night, as I whispered goodbye to her she smiled, said ‘See ya kiddo!’, and winked slyly at me before I kissed her cheek and stole from the room, the last words she said to me. Even then, she was still here and living a life of worth.

Our mother could never have exercised her right to choose to end her life; her cancer-related dementia and the morphine stole her ability to choose months before. And I have to admit a relief at that. There is a scene in the book Still Alice that reminds me of our own situation. Alice, a woman living with Alzheimers, a highly successful professor and professional woman, and member of a small family, decides early on in the progression of her disease that she would kill herself when the time came, once she had lost enough of her faculties that the life she had lived was gone forever. She put some pills in a little black bottle at the back of the drawer in her bedside cabinet. With it she placed an explanatory letter (her own ‘end-of-life directive’) setting out the reasons to her future self why she needs to take the pills and end everything before it’s too late.  As the Alzheimers progresses, we, the readers, know when Alice has passed that point. The thing is, she never knows it. At one point she comes across the pills and the letter, but can’t cohere her thoughts enough to understand the content of the letter or the import of the pills. To the relief of the reader (well, me at least) she eases past that point, going on to live still a life smaller and unacceptable to her former self, but one of worth and joy to her current self.

In my view, which is only a drop in the ocean of views, my mother’s end-of-life journey and the quality of her life is no more a rational reason to retain NZ’s current position on euthanasia that criminalises those who assist others to end their lives, than Lecretia Seale’s own personal story is a reason alone to change those laws. Equal and opposing stories can always be found that support one or another position. Indeed, the euthanasia debate should never, ever be about evaluating or quantifying the relative ‘worth’ or ‘value’ of any human life and the proponents of change to our laws are very careful to adhere to that stance; for example, by emphasising that this is a debate about ‘the right to choose’ to end one’s own life. After all; whose life is it? Those who seek to retain New Zealand’s current position, that assisted euthanasia remain illegal, and a criminal offence under ss 63 and 179 of the Crimes Act 1961, may seek to argue on grounds focusing on the dangers of misapplied euthanasia, and the intrinsic (and therefore immeasurable) value of every life, thereby also avoiding quantifying a ‘worthwhile’ life.

What has confirmed my own position is not so much principles and values affixed to rights and life, although my Christian faith can’t be extricated from the mix of my opinions. Rather, it has been my growing horrified realisation of how vulnerable people like my mother are. We have control over her money; no problem. I and my brothers made the decisions about where she lived, her possessions are ours to do with what we will in practical reality irrespective of legal niceties. I have learned a lot in recent months about the real power I had over my mother’s life. What frightened me is the prospect that I should have had any power whatsoever over her death. My mother would have, without hesitation, signed any end-of-life directive to absolve medical staff of responsibility, or naming me or one of my brothers the decision-maker regarding termination in the event of her mental incapacity. In our family’s case I don’t think the ending would have been any different really, given our personalities and our mix of values and morals and faiths. I could never have carried out any such document myself. I could never have sought to end my mother’s life at any point. But that’s neither here nor there, when it comes to a law changes affecting all of us.

Most cases of euthanasia will occur with the old and terminally ill. And I have no doubt that there are many terminally ill, elderly and incapacitated patients in this country who would have agreed to their own termination but perhaps under duress from their families. Or they would have agreed with no duress whatsoever but may well continue to have moments of life worth living after competence had ended, but can no longer summon the words or thoughts to defend those little moments. And I have learned that those little moments still make a life, a little life, to be sure, but a life of real value nonetheless. Ultimately, even though we try to steer the euthanasia debate away from declarations of the worth of any one person’s life, and articulate the debate as a rights issue, (a right to life, a right to control over one’s life, a right to death..) in the day to day we who have the power to decide would have to make judgments of worth. In the implementation of decriminalisation of assisted euthanasia, will not someone, often not the dying person, have to measure the worth of a life in order to decide when to end it?

Are we really that confident in our own abilities to judge the subjective worth of the lives of others?

Āhua mōhio

He kōrero poto, riterite tonu, i te reo Māori

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