I see that MPs are firmly supporting Simon O'Connor's suitability to chair the inquiry into dying in New Zealand. They argue that he will be thoroughly "professional" in handling the matter dispassionately regardless of his personal beliefs.
"Professionalism" seems to be a good standard to judge the situation. I agree, it is also the crunch issue. But for professional people caught up in any kind of conflict of interest the problem is not the conflict itself but the way in which one handles one's personal beliefs in the context of the wider issue. I think O'Connor has let himself down on this point.
Further, in politics, as in many spheres of life, the issue that matters is not one's personal opinions nor behaviours but the public's perception of these. Now that the question has been raised, many people may sense that the Kiwi deal of fair play has somehow been over-ridden. No amount of political spin from the Beehive will completely erase a vague sense that the Inquiry and its outcome have been tarnished in some degree.
If O'Connor lacks what we used to call the "statesmanship" to step aside as Chair, the only outcome that can possibly exonerate his attitude is that the Committee is bold enough to overcome his strongly held views and come up with a report that will be in line with the great bulk of public opinion.
Ironically, it will probably come to be called "The O'Connor Report".
My earlier posts on this issue: 30 March and 31 Jan 2016