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Young woman suffers from Gov't inaction

Labour 2000 web site
A young Southland woman with a life-threatening illness has been left in desperate circumstances on the other side of the world, Labour MP for Invercargill Mark Peck said today.

"WINZ and the Government are failing her and her parents, who have been fighting for months to get the assistance their daughter needs."

24 year old Lynette Batt went overseas in March 1998. While in the United States she started getting migraines and needed medical treatment. This was paid for by her health insurance but when it expired, she could not get it renewed.

Lynette's health deteriorated while working in London. In June she suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with a large clot on the brain. She was discharged from hospital on the 6th of July.

"Lynette wants to return home but she has medically forbidden to fly until December at the earliest. She is stuck in London and her medical and living expenses are around $360 a week. Her parents are her only financial lifeline.

"Applications have been made to the British Benefits agency and WINZ for assistance but none has been forthcoming. The Minister of Work and Income Peter McCardle says as Lynette is not living in New Zealand "there is no discretion" to grant her a sickness benefit.

"The Minister told me in writing on the 24th September that WINZ staff were working with their British counterparts to help the Batt family. Three weeks later and nothing has happened.

"Lynette has been left to suffer and her parents are under severe financial pressure, while bureaucrats argue over what forms need filling out.

"Mr McCardle and his boss Roger Sowry must stop fobbing off the issue to officials. There must be intervention at a Government level to ensure Lynette receives the financial support she so desperately needs," Mark Peck said.

"If there is no action by tomorrow, I will be asking Labour Leader Helen Clark to use her offices to make representations to the British Government."


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