Government repeals discriminatory law

  • Hon Jenny Salesa

A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government.

“Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.

“It allowed for some resident family members to be paid to provide personal care and support to eligible adult family members, but it also allowed the exclusion of other resident family members from being paid.

“In addition, Part 4A prohibited people from making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission or take legal proceedings in any court or tribunal on the basis of discrimination to their human rights.

“This injustice has understandably upset and angered people needing care and support and those providing care and support, particularly in our disability community.

“In repealing Part 4A we have today restored family carers’ rights to take legal action in challenging discriminatory policy based on their human rights,” Jenny Salesa said.

Along with the repeal, there have been positive changes for Funded Family Care policies administered by the Ministry of Health and district health boards, in response to calls from the sector.

“Carer and client eligibility have been expanded, pay rates have been lifted and disabled people have a choice of ways to pay their family carer.

“These changes will enable more people with high and very high support needs to be eligible to receive care and support in their preferred way and remove many of the issues that breached their human rights.

“The changes not only ensure consistency with human rights laws but upholds New Zealand’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Repealing Part 4A also demonstrates this Government’s commitment to supporting all New Zealanders, whatever their needs, and those dedicated family, whānau, āiga and carers who provide care and support for them,” Jenny Salesa said.