Letter to my MP on the End of Life Choice Bill and a Referendum*

I do not recall during the 2017 election thinking about your position,  or that of the other candidates in my electorate, in regard to the legislation about assistance for those who choose to end their life. Now Parliament is going to make a decision about it. What do I want you to do for me?

My idealistic position on the role of MPs was articulated by Edmund Burke:

     ‘Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.’

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Muddling Over Methane

New Zealand has got itself into a right proper muddle over methane emissions and their impact on climate change. A simple change to the proposed legislation would sort it out.

The proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill treats biogenic methane emissions differently from all other carbon emissions. The latter are to be measured net so that emissions from fossil fuels can be offset by carbon stored in trees. However, methane from livestock is measured gross.

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When it comes to child protection & whānau, are we talking about the same thing?

The issues surrounding child uplift are complex, but we won't make progress without a better understanding of whānau and the tikanga behind it.

Later this month, thousands of people are expected to march to parliament as part of the #HandsOffOurTamaraki movement. At its heart, the movement is about preserving whānau and demanding that the state stop removing children from their whānau, hapū and iwi.

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How Important Is Local Knowledge?

Many foreign appointments to leading public agencies have proved disappointing. Is that inevitable?

The discussion on the quality of economic advice, which we reported last week, has spilled over into a discussion about whether so many senior appointments should be of non-New Zealanders. Recall I discussed the failure to develop career paths within the New Zealand public service.

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The best way through to the end of life

Conscience and consultation are good paths through the mire of emotional and controversial policies such as euthanasia. But referendums are key to ensuring voters are heard

The End of Life bill has been read a second time and is now heading for the House for further debate. Personally, I support the proposal. I don't ever expect to take advantage of the Bill's provisions myself, but as I see this is it my life – inasmuch as it is possible, how I end it should be my decision and mine alone. 

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The emergence of the Third Way: From Douglas to Clark (via Clinton & Co)

In part three, after the new right revolution of the 1980s, social democratic parties such as Labour were searching their souls. Then came new ideas and new 'third way' leaders such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, with answers to the identity crisis

First way – the state, Keynesian demand management, the working class as the base of support. Second way – free-market, reduce the scope of the state and cut taxes, relative indifference to social justice. Third Way – well that's the question.

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Inequality and Mental Health

It may be that higher levels of inequality have increased the incidence of poor mental wellbeing in the community. A recent book suggests a causal mechanism from one to the other.

International research shows that there is a socioeconomic status (or class) gradient, in which those with low SES experience higher morbidity from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, rheumatoid disorders, a number of cancers, psychiatric diseases, dementia and so on.

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