Solicitor-General pays tribute to 'selfless and courageous' Lecretia Seales

New Zealand's Solicitor-General has paid tribute to Lecretia Seales and praised the judge who delivered a "very careful, thorough" judgement.

Michael Heron QC said Ms Seales was "selfless and courageous", while Justice Collins' judgement was "exceptional" in such a short time span.

"[Justice Collins] had to look at quite a number of Crimes Act provisions, the provisions relating to homicide, suicide, the prevention of suicide, hastening death, he had to look at international authority, he had witnesses from all around the world," Mr Heron said.

"It was a very careful, thorough judgement in four working days, that's pretty exceptional."

Ms Seales had terminal brain cancer and died aged 42 at 12.35am on Friday. It was just hours after her family received the decision about whether her doctor could help end her life without fear of prosecution.

Ms Seales, a Wellington lawyer, took the case to the High Court in Wellington to request a landmark ruling allowing her doctor to assist her in dying, without the risk of prosecution.

Ultimately, Justice Collins said he did not wish to "trespass on the role of Parliament" and ruled in favour of the Solicitor-General.

Michael Heron QC has praised Justice Collins and paid tribute to Lucretia Seales, calling her selfless and courageous. Source: 1 NEWS


Flag panel chair allays fears on change referendum

Those in charge of the referendum which may change New Zealand's flag are working to answer the public's questions.

Professor John Burrows, who is the Flag Consideration Panel chair, said in a release that public consultation on the new flag and the process surrounding its selection was going well.

"This is the first time in history the public has had the opportunity to discuss options and have a say in the future of the New Zealand flag," he said.

"Naturally, there are a number of questions that have been raised, and our role is to help answer these."

Responding to the issue of why New Zealanders aren't first being asked if they even want to change the flag, Professor Burrows said the decision had already been made and the methodology considered.

"It means you know what the alternative design is when you vote whether or not you want the flag to change," he said.

Some had also said considering changing the flag was disrespectful to New Zealand's military history, but Professor Burrows pointed to recent comments from retired Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, who was formerly chief of New Zealand's Defence Force.

Jones was quoted as saying: "I can't think of a more appropriate time to consider such an important symbol of our nation as we commemorate Kiwis defending our freedoms and principles."

By law, the flag could simply be changed by a majority of Parliament, but the government had decided any decision on the flag should be made by all New Zealanders, Professor Burrows said.

He also responded to queries about New Zealand's Commonwealth membership, saying nothing about our constitution will change if a new flag is adopted, and said other countries within the Commonwealth had changed their flags over time.

The flag was not bound to change and could well stay the same, he said, as there was no presumption of change in the process - the result depended entirely on how Kiwis vote in the second referendum next year.

New Zealand flag on display. Source: 1 NEWS



All Blacks and Hurricanes legends honour their brother Jerry Collins

Hurricanes and All Blacks legends have honoured their former teammate Jerry Collins after "tragic news" broke of his death.

Rugby great Jonah Lomu Tweeted: "Rest n peace My brother JC n your lovely lady. You will be surely missed Prayers to your little may she Survive ofa atu colins family."

Rest n peace My brother JC n your lovely lady . You will be surely missed Prayers to your little may she Survive ofa atu colins family.


Fullback Christian Cullen who played several seasons wearing both yellow and black said the passing of his former teammate was "tragic news".

"He was a big part of Hurricanes rugby and a big part of New Zealand rugby in general," he said in the build up to tonight's Super Rugby game in Napier.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph, who coached Jerry Collins with the Wellington NPC team, said it was "horrible news".

Former Crusaders and All Blacks first five Andrew Mehrtens also paid his respects to the 48-Test All Black, while Sky Sport commentator and former All Black halfback Justin Marshall recalled playing when "Jerry first made his All Blacks debut".

"He’s one of us, an All Black ... He's gone too young and terribly missed," he said tonight.

Before the Hurricanes vs Highlanders Super Rugby match in Napier tonight both teams huddled together to observe a moments silence, while a montage of Collins' highlights for the All Blacks and Hurricanes played on the ground's big screens.

During the match, Hurricanes second five Ma'a Nonu scored a try in the closing stages of the match and pointed to the sky in what appeared to be a tribute to Collins.

Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith honoured Collins after the Wellington-based team's 56 to 20 win over the Highlanders.

“I think it was overshadowed tonight by the passing of one of our club members, but it was good way to remember him,” he said.

Tributes have poured in for Collins from former All Blacks and Hurricanes teammates on social media after news broke of his death in a car crash in France.

The NZ Embassy has confirmed that 34-year-old Collins and his wife died at 4.30am local time in a road accident on the A9 motorway in the Herault region.

The couple's three-month-old daughter was taken to hospital "in a desperate state".

Former All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu, who was Collins' teammate with New Zealand and the Hurricanes, said it was a "privilege and honour" to play with his big brother.

My heart and sadness goes out to jerry's wife and her family. And also to the collins family.. alofa atu!!

— Piri Weepu (@piriweepu) June 5, 2015


Had the privilege and honour of bleeding with him on the weekends on the field. Words cant express how sad I am brother. RIP big brother JC!

— Piri Weepu (@piriweepu) June 5, 2015

Other All Blacks, Hurricanes and Wellington teammates, including Rodney So'oialo and Cory Jane took to Twitter to share their grief.

This is a tough one to swallow. Rest in peace Uce. Look after each other peeps #familyfirst #allblackslegend #hurricanes #terminator

— Rodney So'oialo (@TianaRodderz8) June 5, 2015


Such sad news about Jerry, his wife & baby.... R.I.P Hitman...

— Cory Jane (@CoryJane1080) June 5, 2015

The Hurricanes, who are playing the Highlanders tonight at McLean Park in Napier, said the team would honour Hurricane No.82 with a huge game for the man who "always will be a huge part of the Canes legacy".

We are shocked and saddened to hear of Jerry and his wife's passing tonight. Our thoughts & prayers are with the family and baby Ayla...

— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) June 5, 2015


We plan to go out there tonight and honour the hell out of Hurricane No. 82. RIP Jerry, you will always be a huge part of the Canes legacy.

— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) June 5, 2015


We are shocked and saddened by reports about the accident involving Jerry.

— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 5, 2015


Struggling to think that its happened.. dont want to believe it!!

— Piri Weepu (@piriweepu) June 5, 2015


Sad news . Terrible rip JC top man

— Zac Guildford (@zacguildford11) June 5, 2015


Don't want to believe it

— keven_mealamu (@kevenmealamu) June 5, 2015

Rugby players based in Europe who played with and against Collins have payed tribute to one of the biggest hitters the game has ever seen. While the Springboks also shared their condolences for the man who was "close to our hearts too".

Terrible news about Jerry Collins & his wife in France. Thoughts are with his family.

— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) June 5, 2015


Shocking news about Jerry Collins. My thoughts are with his family. Hope the reports are not true

— Nick Evans (@nick10evans) June 5, 2015


Really sad to learn what hapenned to Jerry Collins, his wife and daughter! All my thoughts go to their family! #RIPJerryCollins

— Thierry Dusautoir (@TitiDusautoir) June 5, 2015


You were close to our hearts too! RIP Jerry Collins and condolences to all the families involved. #warrior @AllBlacks

— South African Rugby (@bokrugby) June 5, 2015


Love you uso, May God look after your little one #thehitman

— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) June 5, 2015


GALLERY: Jerry Collins' magnificent #SuperRugby and Test career in photos #RIPJC

— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) June 5, 2015


Can't believe that was the last time JC! @Hurricanesrugby

— Greg Peters (@GPRUGBYCEO) June 5, 2015