Lecretia Seales' husband makes plea for euthanasia

Lecretia Seales' husband makes plea for euthanasia

The husband of Lecretia Seales has made an emotive plea to a Parliamentary select committee on Wednesday morning, in the hope it will recommend legalising assisted dying for terminally ill New Zealanders.

Ms Seales was a Wellington lawyer with terminal cancer who waged a very public legal battle for the right to end her own life, but died in June of last year.

Her husband, Matt Vickers, flew in from his new home in New York for the health committee submissions, and says it's an choice that New Zealander's need to be given, when nearing the end of their lives.

"They should be looking at this quite analytically, and review the evidence quite carefully, and I hope they'll conduct the inquiry in much the same way Lecretia would have," he said.

Mr Vickers' submission received support from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

Immediate past president Dr Jack Havill told the committee palliative care in New Zealand is very good, but other options need to be explored when it comes to patients with "unbearable" pain.

"People have end of life suffering, which is not relieved by our excellent palliative care in some instances, and some patients do not want to have an extended end of life anyway."

But not all submitters were in favour of legislative change to support those wishing to end their lives. Christchurch palliative medicine Dr Amanda Landers says palliative and hospice care serves its purpose to make people comfortable, and that overseas success stories shouldn't always be believed.

"We know that palliative care can quite often lengthen life, because people live in a much less stress-free, less anxious state and people kind of cruise along, and know where they can get help."

As of late June, the committee had processed around 20,000 submissions.