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Greens host disability care forum at Parliament

Catherine Delahunty MP
catherine [dot] delahunty [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
Disabled people have the right to choose to be cared for by family.

Green Party Disability Spokesperson Catherine Delahunty will host a forum on the rights of disabled people to pay family members to care for them in Parliament tomorrow.

Seven families are currently involved in court action to secure the right to pay family members for the care of disabled adult children. They have been successful at the Human Rights Review Tribunal and the High Court, but the Ministry of Health is appealing against those decisions to the Court of Appeal.

"Disabled people have the right to choose to be cared for by family," Ms Delahunty said.

"Disabled people often have to pay numerous contract carers to look after their needs. It is bizarre that they are required to train outside carers, when they have family members who they love and are comfortable with and who are able and willing to care for them at home.

"It has been common practice to prohibit the payment of family members for the care of disabled relatives for many years, but the court action by these seven brave families has shown that disabled people have the right to be cared for by their family, and that their relatives have the right to receive payment in recognition of that work.

"It is incredibly distressing that the Government is dragging these families through the courts yet again by appealing this decision. Not only is it stressful and disruptive for the families involved, but it strings things out for hundreds of families around the country.

"The Government and the Ministry of Health should drop the appeal," Ms Delahunty said.

Ms Delahunty said the Greens support individualised funding for disabled people who choose to use this option to arrange the best care for their needs.

"We support these families in their call for innovative solutions for disabled care. Disabled people must be supported to make independent choices, including advocacy services to ensure that they are at the centre of decision-making about their own support.

"If that means family members caring for disabled relatives then they should be paid for this work, just like a contract carer (and of course be subject to the same auditing)."

Ms Delahunty will be joined at the forum by representatives of three of the families involved in the court case, including Cliff Robinson from Thames Coast, who cares for his two adult children and has featured in previous media stories about this issue.

Representatives from the Human Rights Commission and the Carers' Alliance will also speak in support of the right to home care by family members.

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