- Primates' Easter Message (2 April, 2021)
- St John's College: Independent Examination (23 March, 2021)
- Referendum on a Knife Edge (14 October, 2020)
- One wrongful death is one too many (10 October, 2020)
- Hamilton widow stages 24-hour End of Life Choice Act vigil (2 October, 2020)
- End of Life law fails safety check (21 September, 2020)
Kua ara te Karaiti! He pono tonu kua ara a ia!
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Last year, just 12 months ago, we were spending our Easter in lockdown. It was an anxious and uncertain time. The days and months that followed were dark and tumultuous for many people both here and around the world.
Now, just 12 months later, we have the extraordinary privilege again of spending an Easter in relative freedom. It's not the same for all nations. Many people have lost their lives to this virus. Many are still struggling with the effects of the pandemic.
How blessed we are to be living in countries where the covid response has been effective. This is due in no small part to the tireless and thankless work of our frontline health workers, our border and MIQ workers, our essential service workers, our volunteer and community workers, our elders, our ministers, our leaders and fellow servants. There can be no doubt that without them the pandemic in our countries would have been much, much worse.
Those that have served and saved us deserve all our gratitude and thanks, and all our acknowledgement and support. Because of them the anxiety and uncertainty we felt can now be replaced with a little more hope and a lot more freedom. They have shown us what it truly means to love your neighbour. They are to us what love should look like. They are God's love made real.
At the heart of the story of Easter is that same love. God's love, made real in Jesus Christ. In dark and tumultuous times Jesus responded by putting his faith in the greatest power that he knew: God's love made real.
The story of Easter teaches us that we can respond the same way, with the same great power. Where others are cruel, we can be kind. Where others are hurtful, we can seek to heal. Where others choose to be bitter and resentful, we can choose to love. We can be God's love made real in deeds and action.
As far as we have come, our pandemic journey is still not over. We need to be vigilant and continue to protect ourselves and others from covid.
We urge all of you to receive the covid vaccine when it is available. Health professionals assure us that these vaccines are very safe and very effective. There will be vaccinations available for everyone. There is no need for you to miss out.
Getting vaccinated is the best action you can take to protect yourself and others from covid. Being kind is the best action that you can take to support others through the pandemic. And what is kindness if not love made real through action?
We encourage you to have faith. But as the Bible says, faith without works is futile.
You don't need prayer to remove dirt from your hands. You can use soap and water. You don't need a spiritual forcefield to help protect you from infection. You can wear a mask and maintain social distancing. You don't need to hide behind the Bible to find immunity from covid. You can get a vaccination. That's what faith combined with works looks like. That's what love can look like when it's made real.
This Easter, in this part of our pandemic journey, we hope that your faith will be renewed and that God's love will continue to be made real in your life. Made real through the good and kind deeds of others. Made real through your own compassionate actions.
May God's love - real, and active, and caring, and kind - continue to sustain you and keep you through all the days ahead.
Nā mātou nei,
Archbishop Don Tamihere (Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa), Archbishop Philip Richardson (New Zealand Diocese), Archbishop Fereimi Cama (Diocese of Polynesia)
To the Community of the College of St John the Evangelist and to the bishops, clergy and people of this Church.
Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau,
Nei rā te mihi atu ki a koutou i runga i Te Ingoa Tapu a tō tātou Ariki a Ihu Karaiti. Greetings in the name of Christ.
The Primates, with the support of the General Synod Standing Committee of Te Hīnota Whānui, and having taken careful advice, have initiated a review into the culture at St John’s College. This follows the receipt of a number of complaints over a considerable period of time.
We have concluded that there needs to be a thorough and independent examination of the claims and a consideration of the extent to which the culture, life and ministry of the College needs to respond to, and to adapt as a result of these complaints.
The College of St John the Evangelist is a unique and wonderful gift to the whole Church. It is important that it is a strong, healthy and life-giving community. While the presenting issues must be addressed the focus will be on the future and a community in which learning and vocational formation can flourish.
To this end we have appointed Miriam Dean QC to undertake an independent high-level review. Miriam is widely experienced and held in high regard for her ability to undertake such reviews and will be supported in some aspects of the review by Doug Martin.
Miriam and Doug will work primarily through face-to-face interviews wherever possible and the anonymity of persons interviewed, unless they direct otherwise, will be protected. Personal information, legal privilege, and confidentiality will also be protected and maintained.
Interviews can be arranged directly with the reviewers by contacting a confidential email address established for this purpose firstname.lastname@example.org and can take place on site at Tuia, at an offsite venue or via Zoom.
We encourage people to come forward; this review will be robust, independent and fair. We cannot stress too strongly that its will be dependent on the full cooperation of all of us who are involved in the life of the College.
In the Terms of Reference we have developed the reviewer has been asked to:
• Examine the nature and extent of the current and past complaints;
• Examine how the College has responded to past complaints;
• Review the health and safety of staff and students at the College;
In the light of the three items above, to comment, where appropriate on
• the extent to which the College is achieving its educational and ministry training objectives;
• ways in which the educational and ministry training objectives of the College can be met in the future through alternative education and ministry training models and strategies which may meet the changing needs of the Church over time.
We have asked that the review be completed no later than 31 August 2021. Finally, we wish to reiterate the importance of full participation and cooperation with this review. It will be robust, independent and confidential.
Kei roto nei i a Te Karaiti,
Archbishops and Primates
Need to make a submission or ask a question?
If you need to contact the review team for advice or to share your experience please use this address:
This is a confidential service.
Support for the End of Life Choice Act is at a record low, according to a nationwide poll conducted on Monday.
In less than a week, support for the Act has dropped from 60% to 55% and opposition has increased from 25% to 34%. About 11% are still unsure how they would vote.
“An increasing number of people supports the idea of euthanasia or assisted dying, but is voting ‘no’ to this specific Act,” says Renée Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
Supporters are twice as likely than opponents to be uninformed about the Act’s details.
Interestingly, 62% of people who had already voted ‘yes’ think that the End of Life Choice Act is about turning off machines that are keeping people alive – even though this choice is already legal. Of people who had already voted ‘no’, 30% shares this misunderstanding.
67% of people who had already voted ‘yes’ mistakenly think that the Act requires two witnesses when someone signs their request in front of a doctor – compared to 29% of people who had already voted ‘no’. It's a reasonable assumption, since the assisted dying laws in the US, Canada and Australia require this safeguard.
Half of ‘yes’ voters are unaware that the Act makes euthanasia available to eligible terminally ill people, even if they don’t have any physical pain. Among ‘no’ voters, 29% are unaware of this fact.
Euthanasia-Free NZ encourages all voters to check whether their assumptions about the Act are in fact correct.
This poll was conducted by Curia Market Research and has a maximum sampling error of ±4.8% for a result of 50% at the 95% confidence level.
10 October 2020
Hamilton widow, minister and disability advocate is concerned that as would-be law-makers, Kiwi voters do not know what the End of Life Choice Act is about. Although she just spent 24 hours in Garden Place on Sunday, she will be back in Garden Place, Hamilton this Friday 9th October 12pm-3pm to answer questions joined by retired lawyer Ruth Wilson. A casket will make the poignant point that one wrongful death is one too many.
Heather has been giving talks about the proposed Act to over 1200 voters in the last 2 months. She finds that there are 4 camps: those who don’t care, those who are for assisted dying and for the Act, those who are against assisted dying and against the Act, and an increasing number of people in the 4th camp who are pro-the choice but anti-risk. They would like the option for themselves but because of safety concerns for others they will not be voting for this Act.
A recent Otago study said healthy older Kiwis who want the End of Life Choice Act primarily support it because of fear of becoming disabled and not wanting to become a burden. Fear of pain did not feature greatly in these participants' reasons for supporting assisted dying.
Heather decided to return to Garden Place after reading a nationwide Curia poll from 30th September that found that about 80% of New Zealanders are still confused about what the End of Life Choice Act would legalise.
Less than a third (28%) of people surveyed knew that this Act would make euthanasia available to people even if they don’t have any physical pain.
Only 21% knew that this Act would not make it legal to have life support machines turned off. “Most people don’t realise turning off life-support is one of several existing end of life choices we can name in an Advanced Care Plan already”, Heather said.
Just 18% were aware that terminally ill people who meet all the eligibility criteria but also have depression or another mental illness, would indeed be allowed assisted dying under this Act.
The Act states that a person cannot be eligible for a lethal dose when their only reason is mental illness, advanced age or disability. However, the Act would not exclude people who are mentally ill, elderly or disabled if they also have a terminal illness and meet the other eligibility criteria. This alarms Heather who says “Voters need to know for example that a friend’s mental illness could be the underlying medical condition that drives them to request assisted dying, a condition that may be connected to their terminal illness but also treatable.” “Unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person considers tolerable” means it is up to the person to define their suffering as unbearable.
There are no witnesses at any point in the process in the proposed Act including the day the lethal dose is administered which doesn’t protect the person or the doctor. About 41% of respondents assumed that the Act would require two witnesses when a person signs their euthanasia request in front of the doctor and about 40% were unsure. Only 18% knew that the Act does not include this safeguard. Parliament did not discuss why the witnesses were left out of the law New Zealand is voting on. This is despite the fact that it has been included in the assisted dying laws of Canada; Victoria and Western Australia; and nine US states.
Doctors (https://doctorssayno.nz/), lawyers (https://lvnz.org/) and most recently psychologists (http://www.unsafelaw.org.nz/) have signed open statements warning New Zealand against this particular Act.
Heather Major and Ruth Wilson strongly encourage voters to understand the Act before they vote from the legal, ethical, medical and Maori perspectives.
To contact Heather please call 0273156031 or email@example.com (don't forget the 'j')
(The poll was conducted by Curia Market Research on 30 September. Respondents were randomly selected and contacted by landline or mobile phone. The maximum sampling error (for a result of 50%) is ±4.9% at the 95% confidence level.)
2 October, 2020
Hamilton woman Heather Major is staging a 24-hour vigil at Hamilton’s Garden Place to raise awareness of the details of the End of Life Choice Act New Zealanders will vote on in the upcoming election.
Heather is alarmed at the lack of community knowledge of the binding referendum. Unusually voters are the law-makers and the question “Should the EOLC Act 2019 come into force?” will see it come into force 12 months after final votes are counted if it gets 50+% support.
“I've decided to hold a 24-hour vigil in Garden Place because what I'm finding within our community is not enough people are informed for such a colossal decision. This will impact those able to make a free, personal choice but also our most vulnerable people. We need to take the gravity of this seriously,” Heather said.
Heather has been involved in assisted dying research and conversations for about five years and recently her 18-year-old daughter Rachel has joined her education campaign.
“We have spoken at events across the region. We have been invited as educators as we are familiar with the Act inside and out and have our own experience of my husband and Rachel’s father Glenn’s terminal cancer journey. He was given just six months to live when Rachel was a baby and went on to live for the best part of a decade, which gave Rachel the chance to get to know her Dad and make many happy memories.”
Heather will sit in Garden Place for 24 hours from lunchtime this Sunday to lunchtime Monday with a sign “#our whanau, our concern”. She actively opposes the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force.
“My biggest concern about this monumentally flawed Act is that nowhere in the process is there an independent witness, for the protection of both the patient and the doctor. Other countries with similar legislation require 2 independent witnesses when a person signs their request in front of the doctor. This Act has no witnesses at all. Many Kiwi voters don’t know that.”
Heather has actively supported several people with terminal and chronic illnesses and disabilities since her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1997, and more recently in her role as a minister.
“Many people are completely unaware that Māori health model – Te Whare Tapa Whā – is missing in action from this Act, and that there are about 200 lawyers, both for and against assisted dying, who strongly oppose the Act in its current form. (Lawyers for Vulnerable New Zealanders).”
Heather’s motivation for the vigil is helping others to be informed of exactly what they are voting for before election day. She will speak on the hour every hour about the Act for anyone who comes.
Her other, more personal reasons, for her tireless five-year campaign, are listed below.
“At times, it has been a lonely journey for Rachel and for me. Many people are complacent and under-educated about this matter of massive societal change with regard to how we face dying and potentially allowing for one person to legally end the life of another. I’d ask every New Zealander to be well-informed, so they can make an educated call with their vote.”
Heather says she is staging the End of Life Choice Act vigil for:
My homeless friend with a terminal illness whom I failed to help.
My late husband Glenn whom I loved in sickness and in health, till death did us part. He outlived his first 6-month prognosis by eight years.
My brave daughter Rachel who speaks about the vulnerability of sick parents who feel like a burden and about the disregard for whānau in the Act.
Claire Freeman who was encouraged to go to Switzerland to die when she went to a NZ Suicide Prevention clinic https://www.defendnz.co.nz/
Dr Huhana Hickey and about 200 other lawyers both for and against assisted dying who oppose the Act because of the 37 fatal flaws they have identified https://lvnz.org/
Dominique Tamihana sharing Maori concerns at http://whanauconcern.nz/
Voters/lawmakers in what I call the 4th camp who want the choice of assisted dying for themselves but won’t vote for this Act because it is unsafe for others.
The sick people I care for now and in the future and their families and friends.
The 94-year-old woman who at 91 years of age in a NZ hospital was asked if she wanted euthanasia by her doctor.
Those who are dying believing they are unloved or unloveable.
The doctor who said he won’t be referring a patient to another doctor because he won’t assist any of his patients to die.
Those who know or are just realising Te Whare Tapu Whā is missing from the Act.
The healthy older adults who support assisted dying not because of pain but because of fear of becoming disabled and not wanting to become a burden.
For those looking for safeguards like independent witnesses, counsellors, cooling-off periods and assessments for competence, coercion or depression and finding them missing.
Raymond Mok and Vicki Walsh who bravely shared their stories with the nation https://www.votesafe.nz/
Local Hamilton woman Kylee Black who told us when a choice is not a choice https://www.riskylaw.nz/
Palliative care physicians and teams who never stop trying to treat the symptoms of dying patients.
Grandparents and equally all those without family who are tempted to die prematurely.
To arrange an interview contact Heather Major 0273156031 firstname.lastname@example.org (don’t forget the ‘j’)
21 September, 2020
To the Voters of New Zealand,
At the upcoming General Election, you will be asked to vote in a binding referendum on the End of Life Choice Act 2019. We, the undersigned religious leaders, wish to share with you our grave concerns about the final form of this Act.
We speak out of our extensive experience of caring for the dying. We know the effectiveness of compassionate end of life palliative care – care that is able to address not just the physical suffering of people who are dying, but also their emotional, spiritual and psychological suffering, as well as that of whānau and friends.
Medical practices that are part of good end-of-life care – ceasing treatment, Do Not Resuscitate Orders, Advanced Care Directives and turning off life support – are already legal and part of our health care choices and are not part of this proposed law.
The referendum question is not about the desirability of some form of ‘assisted dying’. Rather, we are being asked to vote on a specific piece of legislation – the End of Life Choice Act. The key consideration for all of us is the robustness and safety of this Act. Our concerns are about the lack of safeguards in the Act and the dangers it would present.
We note that the Act differs in the quality of its processes and safeguards from other laws overseas:
The Act is not just designed for a small number of hard cases. It is broader than laws in Victoria and the United States because it allows both assisted suicide and euthanasia.
This is not an Act of ‘last resort’ – there is no requirement to try effective treatments or palliative care. There is also no corresponding right in the proposed law for people to access palliative care.
People will be able to access an assisted death without being in any physical pain. Overseas research shows people choose assisted death primarily out of a fear of being a burden and/or being disabled.
The Act does not require a patient to discuss their decision with a family member or other significant person. All eligible persons, 18 years and over, could choose an assisted death without family knowing.
There is no mandatory psychological assessment or effective screening for depression. Research shows that requests for an assisted death are commonly influenced by depression, something that is extremely difficult to detect and often mistaken for ‘appropriate sadness’.
The NZ Medical Association and Hospice NZ, who oppose the Act, share concerns that it lacks processes enabling clinicians to be confident a person is making their request free of pressure from others.
The two doctor ‘safeguard’ is weak; neither of the doctors need to have met the person previously.
There is no mandatory stand-down period as there is in other countries - under the Act, a person could be dead less than 4 days after diagnosis.
Unlike laws overseas, there is no requirement for independent observers or witnesses at any stage.
The Act does not require a person to be assessed for competency at the time when the lethal dose is being administered, as is the case with laws overseas.
The referendum is binding, meaning the Act cannot be changed - it will be enacted in its current form.
We are also concerned that the practice of assisted suicide and euthanasia will become normalised over time, leading to a broadening of the criteria for eligibility as seen overseas. There is also evidence showing that people choose assisted death because of a lack of palliative care options. There is a risk this will also happen in New Zealand because effective palliative care is not yet universally available to all.
We acknowledge the importance of exercising freedom of choice. At the same time there is a need to balance individual choice with the common good of society. On balance, we believe that the significant weaknesses and dangers of the Act strongly outweigh the benefits that supporters of euthanasia seek.
Even those who favour some form of assisted death have many reasons to Vote NO to the End of Life Choice Act.
Archbishop Philip Richardson
Primate, Senior Bishop of the New Zealand Pakeha Dioceses and Bishop of Diocese of Waikato & Taranaki
Bishop Jay Behan
Church of Confessing Anglicans, Aotearoa New Zealand
Pastor Steve Burgess
Regional Director, C3 Churches Pacific
Commissioner Mark Campbell
Territorial Commander, Salvation Army, New Zealand Territory
Bishop Patrick Dunn
President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference; Catholic Diocese of Auckland
Dr Mustafa Farouk QSM
President, The Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ (FIANZ)
Rev Tavita Joseph Filemoni
General Secretary, Wesleyan Samoan Methodist Church of New Zealand & Australia
National Leader of the Baptist Churches of NZ
Rev. Brett Jones
National Superintendent (Acting), Wesleyan Methodist Church of NZ
Right Reverend Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator, The Presbyterian Church in New Zealand
New Zealand Greek Orthodox Church
Rev Dr Stuart Lange
National Director, New Zealand Christian Network
Pastor David MacGregor
National Director, Vineyard Churches Aotearoa NZ; Senior Pastor, Grace Vineyard Church Christchurch
Rev Andrew Marshall
National Director, Alliance Churches of New Zealand
Pastor Peter Mortlock
Senior Pastor, City Impact Churches of NZ
Archbishop Don Tamihere
Anglican Primate, Pihopa o Aotearoa and Pihopa o Te Tairawhiti
Rev Setaita Taumoepeau K. Veikune
President, Methodist Church of New Zealand
Pastor Adam White
Leader, New Life Churches of New Zealand
Bishop Mark Whitfield
Lutheran Church of New Zealand
Bishop Ross Bay
Anglican Diocese of Auckland
Bishop Steven Benford
Anglican Diocese of Dunedin
Bishop Peter Carrell
Anglican Diocese of Christchurch
Cardinal John Dew
Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington
Bishop Michael Dooley
Catholic Diocese of Dunedin
Bishop Justin Duckworth
Anglican Diocese of Wellington
Pastor Max Faletutulu
Senior Pastor, Titahi Bay Community Church, Wellington
Bishop Michael Gielen
Catholic Diocese of Auckland - Auxiliary
Bishop Andrew Hedge
Anglican Diocese of Waiapu
Bishop Stephen Lowe
Catholic Diocese of Hamilton
Bishop Steve Maina
Anglican Diocese of Nelson
Pastor Kaio Mamea
The Light of All Nations Church, Wellington
Bishop Paul Martin SM
Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu
Pihopatanga o Te Taitokerau
Bishop Waitohiariki Quayle
Pihopatanga o Te Upoko o Te Ika
Rt Revd Dr Eleanor Sanderson
Assistant Anglican Bishop of Wellington
Bishop Richard Wallace
Pihopatanga o Te Waipounamu
Rev Brian Walsh
Local Administrator, Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North