Ryall casts doubt on carer payment plan
Wed, 13 Jun 2012 5:23a.m.
Family members who care for disabled adult relatives are likely to be paid for just a few hours' work a day, with the Government saying it still needs to figure out how it can afford the payments.
Health Minister Tony Ryall announced on Tuesday the Government accepts a Court of Appeal ruling that the current policy - which pays carers to look after severely disabled people, but not if they are family members - is discriminatory.
It is estimated that paying family members could cost up to $593 million a year and Mr Ryall says the Government may have to cut health spending elsewhere.
The cost will depend on how many family members take on carer roles.
"It will have to be at the lower end of the estimates because we simply can't afford to be in that high end," Mr Ryall told Radio New Zealand.
Family members will receive the same hourly rate as the existing carers receive, with the number of hours to be assessed by the Ministry of Health.
"This is not about saying that everybody who's caring for a disabled person is going to be paid the minimum wage for 12, 18, six hours a day," he said.
"Say, for example, the Ministry of Health assesses that you need five hours a day support as a break for caring for your disabled family member. This decision means that you are able to be paid that five hours."
Mr Ryall says there "definitely" has to be a cap on how much is paid to each family member.
Families will not receive backpay, but an upcoming Human Rights Tribunal hearing will decide whether seven parents who originally brought the case in 2001 should receive remedies.
Labour disabilities spokeswoman Clare Curran says cross-party co-operation is essential if the scheme is to be sustainable, and she's suspicious about Mr Ryall's intentions.
"It's unclear whether the Government will seriously consider actual payments to the caregivers," she said.
"It would be disappointing if Tony Ryall attempted to dupe the public that his Government has fulfilled its obligations."
The Human Rights Review Tribunal said the policy was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights and that decision was upheld by the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The Government could have gone to the Supreme Court but decided not to.
"We lost in two courts and all our advice is that we would be losing in a third," Mr Ryall said.
NZN / 3 News
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14/06/2012 4:20:59 p.m.
The Govt is going to have tighten up the dole, solo mothers benefit, and and other benefits of non workers who are able to work, and put money to a real cause such as at home carers. Was brought up in a family with six children and we started part time work as teenagers and have all worked all our lives - the expectation to work from an early age was instilled in us-there is work out there if people want to work and sometimes you have to move to where the work is.
14/06/2012 10:52:01 a.m.
I completely agree VICKI. and i live on a farm so thats me going to give more and i say yes yes yes! Time for all others in the same position to stand up and be adults and do what is right!
13/06/2012 5:35:05 p.m.
20 years ago the top tax bracket paid above 60% tax, so perhaps the money could come from improving tax policy in this country. With the limited resources now on the planet and changes happening in this world, why are people still allowed to amass huge amounts of wealth? So increase taxes on the wealthy and there would be more than enough money in this country for paying for education, disability services and carer payments etc etc......Why can't kiwi's unite on this issue, after all only a very small amount of people are wealthy if it was a numbers game, they would loose the vote, the rest of us are struggling. I think the trickle down lie makes many believe that some magical lottery will occur for all if the rich are wealthier perhaps? Well its not true, strong countries with strong economies have good social policies - for all!
13/06/2012 4:16:49 p.m.
local kiwi wrote:
i understand people needing help but in all fairness can we as a country afford to pay full weeks work to family members I just dont see that as feasable. Maybe if the get an invalids or the dole and the ability to get help for 5 hours a day paid for. Its a small country we live in at some point we will go broke
13/06/2012 9:33:17 a.m.
Floral paisley wrote:
There we have another significant Ministry opposing a government led legislation initiative. First education , now health. This caregiver payment will surely become a Ministry of Social development issue. It is a diabolical state of affairs when the government says we are making massive cuts to childrens education including special needs rendering these children highly dependent as adults, only to announce that the government coffers cannot afford to pay family members of dependent adults. Would it not be more economically viable to fund education support and assist kids to be independent productive adults than prop them up in a system that creates degradation, degeneration and state dependence and reliance for them and their families. This foolishness is what feeds generational welfare dependence, for care givers and the "disabled".
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