NZ court victory for caregiver parents

The New Zealand High Court has knocked back the Ministry of Health, ruling in favour of nine parents of disabled adults, saying they are eligible for financial support from the ministry.

A group of nine parents of disabled adult children took the Government to the Human Rights Tribunal last year, arguing that it was unfair the Ministry paid carers only if they were not related to the patient.

The tribunal found the ministry had discriminated against the parents, but the ministry appealed the decision to the High Court.

The court released its decision last night and said the ministry had failed to show that its policy is "justified in a free and democratic society".

It also said the policy was at odds with the New Zealand Disability Strategy and failed to acknowledge the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which New Zealand has ratified.

Human Rights chief commissioner Rosslyn Noonan, in a statement, said the ministry should accept the decision and "provide justice for these parents who have so courageously fought for their fundamental right not to be discriminated against over many years and through a torrid legal battle".

The parents, represented by the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, claimed discrimination on the ground of their family status.

Ministry policy had assessed the severely disabled adult children as eligible for paid care, but not if that caregiver was a family member.

Their adult children had chosen the parents to provide that care, but because of their family status the ministry said they were ineligible for the payment.

The level of care provided, said the parents' lawyers, was above that of the "natural support" a parent could be expected to provide a child.

from http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/4473658/Court-victory-for-caregiv.... Also:

Comments

Parents of disabled adults angry with MoH appeal

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 6:09p.m.

By Jono Hutchison

Families with disabled children are frustrated the the Ministry of Health has decided to lodge another appeal, on whether it should be paying parents for providing care.

The Ministry announced yesterday it would be seeking leave to appeal a High Court decision last week, which ruled the Ministry was violating human rights.

Estimations by the Ministry put the cost of paying relatives between $17 million and $593 million. But the High Court decided it would probably be near the bottom of that scale.

It also chastised the Ministry for not putting enough effort into cost analysis.

In a statement about its next appeal, the Ministry says the Solicitor General is concerned about wider implications under the Bill of Rights.

3 News called the Solicitor General’s office to ask about these concerns, but were referred to the Ministry of Health.

When we contacted Health Minister Tony Ryall, he referred us to the Ministry too.

The Ministry said they won’t comment before the appeal had been lodged in January.

If the appeal is granted, it could take up to another year before there is a decision.

from http://www.3news.co.nz/Parents-of-disabled-adults-angry-with-MoH-appeal/...

Should parents of disabled adults get Govt support?

The High Court has knocked back the Ministry of Health this month, ruling in favour of nine parents of disabled adults, saying they are eligible for financial support from the ministry.

The Ministry has appealed, saying Crown Law had advised the decision contained "issues of law that have significant implications for other Bill of Rights cases and more broadly for Government decision-making."

75-year-old Thames man Cliff Robinson has described the decision to appeal as coming from "Scrooges at Christmas time". Mr Robinson is the father of two disabled adults.

Do you agree with the Ministry's decision to appeal? Should parents of disabled adults receive Government support? Send us Your Views.

from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/your-views/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501154&objec...

Appeal on caregiver ruling disappoints commissioner

The Chief Human Rights Commissioner is "deeply disappointed" the Crown is to appeal a High Court ruling on caregivers' rights.

The High Court on Friday backed a Human Rights Tribunal ruling which found a Ministry of Health policy to pay carers only if they were not related to the patient was discriminatory.

The Solicitor General confirmed yesterday he would seek leave to appeal the court ruling that parents caring for disabled adult children were eligible for financial support.

"This is the second time in less than a year the caregivers of disabled family members have had their case upheld - first in the Human Rights Review Tribunal and now in the High Court - only to have the Crown reject the judgment and announce an appeal," Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said.

The High Court had ruled the ministry had breached the rights of parents and their disabled children.

"The breach of that right cannot be justified in a free and democratic society," Ms Noonan said.

"In view of the detailed and thorough judgment from the High Court, it is difficult to see on what possible legal grounds the decision could be appealed," she said.

However, National Health Board national services director Kelvin Moffatt yesterday said the potential implications of the decision were far wider than the health and disability sector.

"The ministry has been advised by Crown Law that the decision contains issues of law that have significant implications for other Bill of Rights cases and more broadly for government decision-making."

Parents of disabled children, represented by the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, claimed discrimination on the ground of their family status.

Ministry policy had assessed the severely disabled adult children as eligible for paid care, but not if that caregiver was a family member.

Their adult children had chosen the parents to provide that care, but because of their family status the ministry said they were ineligible for the payment.

The level of care provided, said the parents' lawyers, was above that of the "natural support" a parent could be expected to provide to a child.

- NZPA

from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/public-healthcare/news/article.cfm?c_id=294&ob...

see also http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/human-rights-commission-039deeply-disappo...

'Xmas Scrooges' fight caregiver-pay ruling

The Ministry of Health is to lodge an appeal after the High Court ruled last week that parents caring for disabled adult children are eligible for financial support.

The High Court backed a Human Rights Tribunal ruling which said a ministry policy to pay carers only if they were not related to the patient was discriminatory.

The potential implications of the decision are far wider than the health and disability sector, National Health Board director of national services Kelvin Moffatt said yesterday.

"The ministry has been advised by Crown Law that the decision contains issues of law that have significant implications for other Bill of Rights cases and more broadly for Government decision-making."

Cliff Robinson, 75 of Thames, yesterday described the decision to appeal as coming from "Scrooges at Christmas time".

The father of two disabled adult children said he could not believe that highly paid Government officials would come crashing down on a group of hard-working New Zealand parents, most of them solo parents, who had struggled most of their lives to give their disabled children the love and compassion they deserved.

"But we can hold our heads high and they can't."

As for financial implications, Mr Robinson said there were always costs when new social policy came in. "I mean, what about when DPB first came in, or social security, or equal pay for women, or paid parental leave?

"Would governments dare now not have equal pay for women? The same arguments were put up."

Parents of disabled children, represented by the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, claimed discrimination on the grounds of their family status.

Ministry policy had assessed the severely disabled adult children as eligible for paid care but not if that caregiver was a family member.

The parents' lawyers said the level of care provided was above that of the "natural support" a parent could be expected to provide to a child.

- additional reporting by NZPA
By Catherine Masters

from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=1069...