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The great debate . . . End of Life Choice Bill sponsor and Act MP David Seymour (centre) spoke at a public meeting on euthanasia in Timaru in March, which was also attended by Rangitata MP and meeting organiser Andrew Falloon (right) and National MP Michael Woodhouse (left). PHOTO: THE COURIER FILES

2018 was an eventful year for South Canterbury. The Courier reporters Greta Yeoman, Claire Allison and Chris Tobin look back at some of the leading stories of the year’s papers.

Euthanasia was the front page topic of The Courier‘s March 8 edition, as submissions were sought nationwide about the End of Life Choice Bill.

Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon hosted a public meeting on the topic, joined by Bill sponsor and Act Party leader David Seymour and National MP and former health minister Michael Woodhouse, who opposed the Bill.

The Courier talked to Temuka resident Fran Moore who had lost both her parents to terminal illness and supported the Bill allowing people to legally end their suffering.

“I think it’s terribly wrong that people should be forced to suffer.”

Other South Canterbury residents, including Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, opposed the Bill, particularly because of the story of one speaker who had lived with bipolar disorder for most of his life and had several suicidal episodes.

The Bill was still before Parliament’s justice select committee.

A parliamentary representative said committee members had finished hearing from local submitters and had been hearing from international submitters in mid-December.

The committee is expected to report back to Parliament by March 27, and a second reading of the Bill would occur in April.