22 Jan 2010

Family care of disabled unaffordable, says Ryall

8:00 pm on 22 January 2010

The Government says it's appealing against a ruling of the Human Rights Review Tribunal because the country cannot afford to pay people to look after their own severely disabled family members.

Earlier this month, the tribunal ruled the Ministry of Health was discriminating against a group of parents by not paying them for care work in regard to their severely disabled adult children.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says paying people to look after their disabled children is not where the Government wants to go.

It wants to provide more support for caregivers, he says, but it needs to balance this desire with its other commitments.

The decision to appeal was announced earlier on Friday by the Solicitor-General, who said that, given the ruling's significant implications, including the likely fiscal impact, the appeal was in the public interest.

The chairman of the New Zealand Carers Alliance, John Forman, says he believes that the Crown will argue that the current restriction on funding is justified for social or economic reasons.

He says, however, that it may have a hard job winning that argument in the face of the important human rights at stake.