Earlier this year, the Government forced a Bill through the House as part of the Budget which discriminates against citizens wishing to challenge on human rights issues, specifically issues around disability and family care. The Bill was a response to the successful court actions against the Ministry Health ban on paying family members arcing for disabled adults. The Bill is now law and has been widely attacked for its breaches of human rights and draconian provisions in response to an on-going issue where people are choosing to be cared for at home and choose family members to be the worker who cares for them. The New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Act (No 2) caps the number of families who can be paid, suggests they could be paid the minimum wage, denies spouses rights to be paid, and specifically prevents anyone taking these issues back to court for justice.
I am hosting a forum on this unfair law on Monday August 12 at Parliament with speakers from legal and disability issues backgrounds. Professor Andrew Geddis has spoken out strongly on the legal discrimination issue, Paul Gibson the Disability Commissioner has led the Human Rights Commission response, Rachel Noble, Chief Executive of the Disabled Persons Assembly will speak about the impact on disabled people and Roger Palairet of Carers New Zealand will give the carers’ organisation perspective.
Of course there are complex issues around who gets paid for what. Of course we cannot pay everyone in this country for the support they give their families but to rule out any legal challenge to Government policy because the Government lost in the courts raises major issues. The Government has attacked the rights of disabled citizens and their families and Green Party will support repeal of this law and genuine conversation and negotiation about what a fair framework for people choosing to be cared for by family at home.
The forum is open to the public – if you want to attend, you need to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 3pm Thursday 8 August for security and catering purposes.
What: Family care, discrimination and the law forum
When: Monday 12th August, 3 – 4:30pm
Where: West Foyer, Executive Wing (Beehive), Parliament Buildings