In our country there is a growing number of unnecessary suicides of elderly people who would rather leave this life prematurely by their own hand than trust their last days and weeks to the health system.
So several months ago Wellington Region Police apparently resolved to make contact with people connected with Exit International or the Voluntary Euthanasia movement. They called on at least one dear old lady who did indeed own a balloon inflation kit, complete with a supply helium, readily available from her local shopping centre. The photo is her bold response.
The Police went a good deal further with Operation Painter. This involved a very heavy-handed and probably illegal road block - ostensibly a blood/alcohol check - to collect names and addresses from people who had been attending a meeting on ending one's life. They appeared to be building up a Police dossier of (elderly) people likely to harm themselves. All this at a time when a Parliamentary Committee was already deep in discussions about "ending one's life in New Zealand"...
At the time I facebooked: "As a member of the local Community Patrol I am in and out of the nether regions of the local Police station more than most people and know some of the officers by name. It will be interesting to see if I receive such a visit. Maybe I should just pop in and ask them if I'm on a list..." Well, I haven't had a call yet.
Operation Painter raised headlines around the country and there was considerable outrage. The affair was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Authority which has apparently not been able to reach a conclusion in eight or nine months. This timely delay could help to ensure that medical aid in dying becomes an election issue this year.