Caralise Trayes; Capture and Tell Media, 2020 (p280) ISBN 9780473524517

Caralise Trayes has done the nation a great service in her book The Final Choice: End of Life Suffering – Is Assisted Dying the Answer?

Trayes is a journalist, and in a very easy-to-read style, she interviews many people across New Zealand about the End of Life Choice Act that is part of our referenda votes on 19th September 2020.

You may have come across Trayes in the media on this subject, as she’s been talking about it on TV3’s The Project, Radio NZ, Newstalk ZB and Magic Radio.

She highlights that it is very unusual to have a binding referendum, meaning that although the End of Life Choice Act has been passed by our parliamentarians, it will only become law if a majority of us vote ‘yes’.

In interviewing medical experts, politicians (including MP David Seymour, the architect of the act), people with disabilities, those with terminal illness, ethicists and legal experts, she gives a broad overview of the history and situation in New Zealand. She also compares the End of Life Choice Act with similar legislation in other countries.

She does well in highlighting that the vote ahead of us has huge ramifications and implications, and that regardless of whether we are for or against it, many of us do not understand the Act.

Recently I had the honour of leading a discussion in our Lincoln Baptist Church whānau about both referenda. We printed off the 10-page summary of both the End of Life Choice Act and the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill from www.vote.nz.

In groups we discussed the implications on society that could result should we as a nation collectively say ‘yes’ to either or both.

It was wonderful to see such engagement from the church, with some in favour, some against and some unsure. Trayes’ book has been helpful in framing the discussions.

Although it would have been helpful to have such a book published in 2019 not 2020, as a nation we are indebted to Trayes’ work and I commend The Final Choice to you.

It’s available in bookshops and libraries across Aotearoa. Get it before we vote on 19th September!

Reviewer: Tim Hodge