In May 2013, the Government amended the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 by inserting new provisions relating to payments to people who care for disabled family members. The relevant provisions are set out in a new Part 4A of the Act, which sets out the circumstances under which the Government will pay family carers.
Part 4A provides that family carers will generally not be paid for the care that they provide, and will be paid only if payment is permitted by a family care policy adopted by the Crown or a DHB, or expressly authorised by an enactment. The Act as amended also provides that no person may complain to the Human Rights Tribunal or bring proceedings on the grounds that Part 4A or a family care policy breaches the person's right to freedom from discrimination under certain provisions of the Human Rights Act 1993, which are affirmed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The Government has described the amendments as being its solution to the Court of Appeal's decision in Atkinson and others v Ministry of Health, which found that the Ministry's policy of not paying some family carers discriminatory. The Government expects that around 1,600 persons with high and very high needs who are currently being cared for by family members will be entitled to employ a family carer.