21 Apr 2011

Ministry spends $1m in legal battle

2:47 pm on 21 April 2011

The Ministry of Health has spent more than $1 million fighting court action by families who want to be paid for looking after severely disabled relatives.

New figures show the Ministry has spent $1.2 million so far fighting seven families who the High Court has ruled are being discriminated against because they care for relatives.

The ministry is preparing to appeal against that ruling.

Peter Humphreys, whose 23-year-old daughter has a neuro-genetic disorder, says it is unbelievable that even more taxpayers' money will be used in a Supreme Court hearing.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the case has significant potential implications beyond the health and disability sector, which would cost far more than the legal bill.

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty says the Government should stop taking such an adversarial approach.

Ms Delahunty told Morning Report the Government is brow-beating the families through the court system.

The president of the Disabled Persons Assembly, Wendy Neilson, told Morning Report the situation amounts to the abuse of the rights of people with disabilities and their families.