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Path to fairer payment policy for family carers begins

Path to fairer payment policy for family carers begins with Government announcement

28 September 2018

Yesterday’s news that Cabinet has agreed to consider changes to Funded Family Care is an achievement for families after years of court and human rights action.

Carers NZ, the national not-for-profit supporting family carers, says their efforts have led to overdue progress for all carers.

“We take our hat off to them,” says Chief Executive Laurie Hilsgen.

There are more than 400,000 family carers of elderly, ill, and disabled friends and family members in New Zealand. Caring can be required suddenly, and be for a short time or a lifetime.

Those supporting someone with significant long-term needs are often disadvantaged economically and struggle to participate in paid work outside of caring. This particularly impacts women, with two thirds of carers being female, says Hilsgen.

“Caring is something families and whanau have always done, and most of us wouldn’t hesitate to make the choice to care for someone we care about or feel a duty toward. But we rely on them too much and haven’t cared for them as well as we should. Today’s announcement is a step towards caring better for our carers.”

The detail of plans to improve Funded Family Care and removal of discriminatory legislation, will be worked through by the Government in the coming months. Carers NZ and the Carers Alliance have asked the Government to make haste, as families have waited a long time for better, fairer payment policy.

Health Minister Dr David Clark acknowledged this in yesterday’s announcement, thanking families for their “ongoing patience”.

Acting Associate Health Minister James Shaw said the previous Government’s FFC policy had been a nightmare for families, with the announcement paving the way towards a “kinder and fairer agreement with carers”.

ENDS

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