A Bill proposed by The Honourable Aupito Sio to amend the Coroner’s Act 2006 is going through the House currently. The purpose of the proposed changes is to speed up time to resolution for families as cases are currently taking years to reach a conclusion.
Proposed Changes to the Coroners Act 2006
The Bill proposes 4 targeted amendments to the principal Act:
- Establishing new position of ‘coronial associate’;
- Recording cause of death as ‘unascertained natural causes’ in certain circumstances;
- Enabling coroners to hold coronial inquiry solely in chambers, where appropriate;
- Enabling written findings to be issued stating cause of death only, where appropriate, not circumstances.
Justice Select Committee
Written submissions were due by 28 Sept 2022 and oral submissions were heard on 6 October 2022 by the Justice Select Committee, the members of which are listed below. You can watch their short comments on the Bill at this link: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_125886/tab/video
Ginny Andersen Labour
Vanushi Walters Labour, lawyer
Paul Goldsmith National
Emily Henderson Labour, lawyer
Nicole McKee ACT
Mark Mitchell National, ex Police
Simon O’Conner National
Willow-Jean Prime Labour, lawyer
Arena Williams Labour, lawyer
It is interesting to note that there are no medical people on this Select Committee and that the coronial service is run by the Ministry of Justice. Coroners in NZ are all from legal backgrounds. In other countries coroners can have legal or medical backgrounds.
The Role of Coroners
A deceased person is usually referred to a Coroner when a medical doctor is not able to write a death certificate because they are not confident of the cause of death or are not comfortable with the circumstances surrounding the death.
Concerns About the Coroner’s Amendment Bill
This Bill proposes to allow a legally trained person to sign off the cause of death as ‘unascertained natural causes’ when a medically trained person is unable to do so. That sounds fishy and the people of NZ think so too if the submissions are anything to go by.
Several submitters spoke of a ‘slippery slope’. One suggested that rather than fobbing deaths off as ‘unascertained natural causes’, a more correct classification would be ‘sudden death – not investigated’. This would not improve the outcome for the bereaved but would be a more honest reflection of the situation.
Several pathologists and forensic pathologists spoke (Simon Stables, Paul Morrow, Leslie Anderson and Kate White) and voiced their concerns about the lack of medical input and suggested that a pathologist or forensic pathologist be included in, or aligned with, the coronial service.
Several people spoke about suicide and the protracted, unsupported, imbalanced, adversarial nature of the current coronial system.
Submissions to the Coroner’s Amendment Bill
There were over 2600 written submissions, the vast majority of them appearing to oppose the Bill. From glancing through a random selection (see below), it is easy to see that Kiwis who submitted are strongly of the opinion that this government is trying to hide something by bringing in this Bill at this time.
The full written submissions can be read at this link: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_125886/tab/submissionsandadvice
Most people suggested if the service was struggling, it should not be replaced with an inferior less-robust service, but rather be better resourced and funded. Many also stated that more investigation, not less, should be occurring in the context of excess mortality following the rollout of a novel medication that is still in phase 3 (due to finish Feb 2023) and phase 4 (post marketing surveillance) of a clinical trial.
Will this be another government whitewash with a pre-determined outcome or will the select committee actually listen to the people of NZ?
What Do Kiwis Think?
“This is plainly a ploy by a corrupt, incompetent government to conceal the crimes being committed by the health authorities in the treatment of a trumped up pandemic. Many people have been murdered in this process and action needs to be taken to bring these wrong doers to justice, not pass laws to sweep their crimes under the carpet.
It is time to stop murdering New Zealanders and bring the perpetrators to justice. This amendment does the opposite.”
“I strongly disagree with the proposed amendments. They are so open to abuse, clearly the intention is to hide/ignore the large increase the current “all cause mortality” we are experiencing since the covid jab roll out. Every case of heart disease, vascular disease and cancer needs to be investigated and the link to “vaccination status” needs to be entered on all death certificates
I absolutely oppose this amendment to the bill. It is just another way this labour government is trying to hide its medical injustices from the COVID vaccine. Disgusting. There is no way coroners should be allowed these rights. All findings should be made public.”
“The Coroners Amendment Bill is completely unacceptable, and seemingly a blatant attempt of the Ardern Government to cover their tracks. It lacks transparency and is a total breach of upholding democracy. It is a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card” being enacted by the Ardern Government to benefit any potential wrong doing by the Ardern Government in any future Court or Judicial proceedings.”
“The changes you are proposing to the Coroners Amendment Bill are NOT acceptable. People need to know the reason why a loved one has died unexpectedly. These proposed changes lack transparency and reek of a coverup.”
“I oppose the change what are you trying to hide ? why has their workload increased ? Leave it as is I believe this is just a cover up of the deaths that have happened due to the covid vaccines.”
“In my opinion this Amendment Bill, should be stopped, it cannot go ahead. It looks very shady almost like some people have something to hide.”
“This amendment makes me think the Government are trying to hide something. Total lack of Transparency! I for one do not want this bill to go ahead. Thankyou for letting me have my say.”
“I oppose the proposed Coroners Amendment Bill, because it does not protect the public from injustice, which is the main function of the Ministry of Justice. If any Tom, Dick or Harry, without any medical knowledge, are appointed to make judgements without proper investigation into the actual and true cause of death, then anything can be recorded as a “Natural Death”. This looks like an easy way out of a tragic situation, with nothing and no one held accountable. I’m sure the Ministry of Justice can do better to uphold Truth and Honour in NZ.”
“A Coroner’s job is to establish cause of death. Do not remove or reduce those requirements. Don’t hide the facts… let the truth out.”
“This dishonesty from Jacinda Ardern, NZ Labour Party and our Government needs to stop. It is immoral and unethical and if they can’t stop being dishonest they need to step down asap. Always trying to cover their backsides instead of doing the right thing. Resign Jacinda, NZ Labour and anyone else who isn’t prepared to work honestly for ALL New Zealanders. Shame on you this Bill is atrocious and it should be banned immediately.”
“Now is not the time to make these changes. It is vitally important that we look hard and truthfully at the effects of covid and also, more importantly, the vaccines. It must not be made easier to brush past potential red flags.”
“This is not a good idea, please stop the bill from passing. A high majority of the country has taken an experimental vaccine which has caused severe adverse effects including death. In addition, there are unexplained significant increases in excess deaths around the world, including in the UK and NZ. We need reliable and accurate data to investigate and monitor these issues.”
“I wish to say that I feel that this amendment is not in the interests of a transparent and democratic New Zealand.”
“This Amendment Bill sniffs of avoidance of the truth that the ‘jab’ is causing most of the unexpected deaths. Truth will always be revealed.”
“It reeks of “cover-up” and political control to allow the manipulation of a narrative and facts that may embarrass government ministers, ministries and agencies, whose policies and actions may result in unnecessary deaths. It is neither Open or Transparent.”
“I do not support this! It is very very clear this is a cover up campaign over the roll out of the covid 19 jab! Ditch it and ditch jacinda!”
“We appear to have enough money in the Taxpayers coffers for all sorts of wonderful ideas, but when it comes to our Medical Rights there appears to be not enough to employ the required Medical professionals.”
“As the increase in all-cause mortality can not be explained by Covid-19 deaths, the coroner needs to consider the impact of the vaccine. The vaccine is known to cause death and result in diseases which can lead to death.”
“I disagree with the amendment, all deaths should be able to be investigated to find the true cause, this is a blatant excuse to cover up vaccine deaths.”
“I do not wish any changes to be made to the coroners bill. I want there to be complete transparency around deaths especially deaths post COVId vaccine and post COVId. It is imperative that the coroners job is not messed with by those wishing to cover up any failings of the MRNA vaccine roll out. It’s concerning to hear that these changes are being recommended.”