Health Minister Tony Ryall has said that the Government will not be appealing last month's Court of Appeal judgment that held that the Ministry of Health discriminated against the family members of adult disabled children through its longstanding policy of excluding such family members from payment for the carer services they provide. Mr Ryall has announced that the Government intends to address the issue by putting in place a new policy that would remove the discrimination.
Mr Ryall did, however, emphasise that the new rules need to be affordable. In terms of likely costs involved, Mr Ryall said that this is difficult to estimate as it is not currently known how many family members are being affected in this way, and he could not rule out cuts to current entitlements to help pay for the change. Meanwhile the Labour Party is calling for cross-party cooperation to develop a new scheme and treating Mr Ryall's comments with suspicion.
The nine families behind the successful claims can now seek remedies at a hearing of the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
A summary of the Court of Appeal case, Ministry of Health v Atkinson  NZCA 184, can be found here.