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Euthanasia inquiry is 'Lecretia's gift'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/08/2016 Karen Sweeney
Lecretia Seales © Supplied Lecretia Seales

Beliefs about death and the practice of dying are as personal as it gets but assisted dying legislation is not a threat, says the man whose wife dedicated her dying days to making it legal.

Lecretia Seales didn't want to die, but she didn't want to be ill either, her husband Matt Vickers has told a government health select committee in the first public hearings to determine community attitudes to voluntary euthanasia.

"I want to be crystal clear that Lecretia valued her life very much," he said in Wellington on Wednesday.

"She didn't want to die, but she didn't want to have brain cancer either and while there were some things she couldn't change there were some she could.

"She felt that it was right for her to choose the circumstances of her death, and that was something that she felt she had the power to challenge, and possibly change," Mr Vickers said in the first of thousands of submissions that will come from individuals and groups.

Ms Seales died last June from a brain tumour just hours after she was told the High Court had ruled against her bid to choose when she could die, but not before initiating the law reform project.

"My wife Lecretia has given you a gift," Mr Vickers said.

"I want you to proceed as you would have proceeded. To examine the evidence carefully and have an open mind."

Voluntary Euthanasia Society New Zealand secretary Carole Sweney says the fact there is suffering should be the focus of the inquiry.

"Who knows best if the suffering is unbearable - we can't judge, only the person knows how they are feeling," she said.

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