Duncan Garner: We should be given a choice at the end of life

Opinion 27/06/2019

An historic night in Parliament - the "End of Life Choice Bill" went through to its final phase. 

I thought it would pass but, in the end, I was surprised by the margin: 70-50. 

I had thought it might have been closer with last-minute lobbying, although the vote was definitely tighter than the first one back in 2017. 

A few MPs jumped over to swim with the majority, Judith Collins, who had been so anti, she switched.

It won't hurt Collins to be on the side of the people or with the majority. 

But now, watch this space. Watch the pressure come on, the churches, the religious groups, the anti-euthanasia brigade of all persuasions.

They will line up the MPs they regard as "soft supporters" in an attempt to bring them around.

They will have to target just 10 and get them across on the third and final reading and the bill would collapse. 

Winston is crucial - because of him there will be a referendum. And then, of course, there's the lobbying - it can be fierce and it can get personal. 

But frankly, the best campaign comes from the people.

We've all lost someone probably. We all have our stories. The anti campaign has not impressed me, I think it's been devoid of facts and devoid of real examples where it's not working.

The pro campaigners haven't even met, but they're organised, experienced and authentic.

It's you and me - we've walked the same struggle and faced the utter devastation and emptiness of losing our mum or dad.

In my case, it was Dad. 

I consider this a careful law, although, ironically, while I support a law change I wouldn't have said it was needed in Dad's case.

But I saw enough in Mary Potter Hospice over those nine months.

I saw my grandmother gasping for breath, I saw a friend recently in a totally vegetive state, distressed and flapping around as his cancer drugs wore off and, finally, dying after his body gave up. 

It lacked dignity, and it looked more like torture. 

Give us the choice. I have faith in humans to get this right. It is our right after all.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.