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Carers deserve a fair deal not endless litigation

13 February 2012

Carers deserve a fair deal not endless litigation

The Government needs to come to a fair and equitable agreement with families wanting to be paid for caring for their own disabled children, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said today.

Parents caring for their disabled children haven't been allowed to receive payments for the work they do. However in 2011, the Human Rights Review Tribunal ruled that such families were being discriminated against. The Government has appealed this decision to the High Court and now to the Court of Appeal.

“The families who care for their disabled children are not greedy people,” said Ms Delahunty.

“The work they do is challenging and demanding. All the carers want is the same amount that a stranger providing care for these families children would receive.

“The money the Government has spent on legal fees fighting these families could have been better spent paying for caregiving,” said Ms Delahunty.

Last year the Green Party obtained a detailed breakdown of legal costs incurred by the Ministry of Health to appeal successive court decisions upholding the rights of disabled people and their families.

It reveals that the Ministry spent $690,000 defending the original case at the Human Rights Review Tribunal, $340,000 appealing it to the High Court, and $70,000 considering the High Court decision and deciding to appeal it to the Court of Appeal.

“The constant legal battles seem designed to wear down the plaintiffs who already have the stress and pressure of looking after their disabled children,” said Ms Delahunty.

“These families have made huge sacrifices to care for their children and deserve to be supported rather than put through more stress.”

Note: The Court of Appeal case starts today and the main plaintiff, Cliff Robinson, can be contacted via Catherine Delahunty.

ENDS

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