New Zealand’s bishops are urging voters in the country's general election to say “no” to the euthanasia referendum and to give “serious thoughts” to the effect of cannabis on vulnerable people when considering the cannabis referendum. Source: NZCBC.
The general election will occur on October 17 and will include referendums on legalising recreational cannabis and euthanasia.
The six bishops say in their Election Statement, which also calls for people to consider the poor and vulnerable when voting, that it is not their role to tell people who to vote for.
Urging a “no” vote in the End of Life Choice Act referendum, the bishops say the demand for euthanasia is driven not by pain but by personal and emotional factors such as the fear of being a burden or being disabled, fears that reflect negative attitudes towards the elderly and disabled that run deep in society.
They note that key medical groups including the NZ Medical Association oppose the proposed legislation and criticise the act for not requiring that people first access palliative care when that is available.
On the recreational cannabis referendum, the bishops say as proprietors of many of the country’s 237 Catholic schools with 66,000 students, they are keenly aware that young people are the group most vulnerable to the negative effects of cannabis.
“We think people do need to give serious thoughts to the issue, and we hope you will use your vote in a way that considers the impact of legalised recreational cannabis on the young and vulnerable in our communities.”