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Suicide crisis could worsen: Family First

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/11/2016

Allowing assisted dying will create a contagion effect that will only make New Zealand's suicide crisis worse, Family First's national director Bob McCroskie believes.

Mr McCroskie has hit out at media reports making "heroes" of terminally ill people advocating for the right to die saying it will be a trigger for vulnerable people, and says reporting guidelines are important.

"It is demoralising to know that these guidelines were widely ignored in reporting of recent incidences of assisted suicide with the subject's decision to end his or her life frequently presented as inspiring and even heroic," he told parliament's health committee on Wednesday.

Coverage of Lecretia Seales' High Court bid for the right to die also impacted the number of people considering euthanasia, he said.

"It cannot be ruled out that there is risk related to the increased publicity given to the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide and in addition those in palliative care report that during the Seales High Court case in 2015 there was a discernible increase in the number of patients and families expressing a desire to access assisted suicide euthanasia," he said.

Instead Mr McCroskie wants to see coverage focus on people with suicide ideations who did not end their lives but find the strength to overcome adversity.

The health committee is hearing 1800 submissions in an investigation into public attitudes towards assisted dying, following a petition by former Labour MP Maryan Street.

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