Court rules parents of disabled children should be paid

  • 13/05/2012

By 3 News online staff

In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal has this morning ruled that parents of disabled children are being unreasonably discriminated against by not being allowed to be paid carers.

The test case today dismissed the Ministry of Health’s appeal against a finding that its current policy is discriminatory.

“The parents should be compared to those persons who are able and willing to provide disability support services to the ministry,” the court ruled.

“The adult disabled children were treated differently because they were limited in their first choice of carer by the fact that if they chose family carers, the ministry would not pay those family members.”

Today’s decision follows a court hearing in February that was told only rough estimates had been done of what it would cost the ministry to pay parents of disabled children. Estimates varied from between $17 million and $593 million.

The High Court had found the ministry's policy of only paying for certain services if they were provided by a non-family member was in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of family status.

The ministry appealed, saying the Bill of Rights allowed for "a reasonable limits of rights to achieve a sufficiently important governmental objective" but the Court of Appeal ruled the policy "imposed a limit that was greater than was reasonably necessary… and was not a reasonably limitation on the right to freedom from discrimination".

3 News

source: newshub archive