Human Rights Commission welcomes changes to Funded Family Care

Human Rights Commission welcomes changes to Funded Family Care

September 27, 2018

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the announcement by the Government that it intends to repeal Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 and to consider changes to Funded Family Care.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that the repeal of Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 is well overdue.

“The Government’s intention to repeal this legislation is great news for the families who have been affected and who have been fighting so hard for change. Their calls have been listened to,” Ms Tesoriero says.

“Part 4A is discriminatory legislation that was passed into law in 2013. It was a response to the landmark judgments of the Human Rights Review Tribunal and Court of Appeal that held that the Ministry of Health policy at the time of not paying family caregivers of adult disabled people was discriminatory.” 

The Government will also hold targeted consultations with affected families and stakeholders about the current Funded Family Care policy and potential changes.

“Disabled people and their whānau deserve to be treated fairly. The Government’s announcement to consider changes to Funded Family Care is an opportunity to address issues that have adversely affected the lives of many disabled people and their loved ones over a long period of time,” Ms Tesoriero says. 

“We must ensure disability support services and laws on funding eligibility are fit-for-purpose and enable disabled people and their whānau to be well-supported and lead the lives they want to lead.

“It is important that these changes are co-designed with the disability community and the people they affect.  I hope this announcement signals an end to families having to go to Court to try and get a fair deal.”


Notes:

Part 4A was a response to the landmark judgments of the Human Rights Review Tribunal and Court of Appeal that held that the Ministry of Health policy at the time of not paying family caregivers of adult disabled people was discriminatory. It introduced the Funded Family Care policy that has since been subject to much criticism, including by the Courts, about its fairness and complexity.

Part 4A discriminated against disabled people and their family caregivers by preventing them from bringing any future challenges to the policy under the Human Rights Act.

Following the passing into law of Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act, the Commission has lobbied for its repeal, including raising the issue repeatedly with United Nations Human Rights Committees. Part 4A was passed urgently by Parliament, bypassing usual Select Committee procedures and denying New Zealanders the right to comment on the proposed law change.

Refusal to pay family members to provide care in circumstances where they would provide payment for non-family members to provide care was found by the Courts to be discriminatory on the basis of family status, a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act. More information can be found here.