“This is an excellent result,” said Peter Atkinson as news filtered through that the Court of Appeal has found parents of disabled children ARE being unreasonably discriminated against by not being allowed to be paid carers.
Today’s judgement dismissed the Ministry of Health's appeal against a finding that its current policy is discriminatory.
Peter was a member of a small group of parents and two of their adult disabled children who lodged the claim that would allow family members to be caregivers. Previously they won their battle at the Human Rights Review Tribunal and the High Court. Today they received the same result at the Court of Appeal.
The Ministry has the option of continuing the fight at the Supreme Court but the parents are calling on the Ministry and the Government to drop their legal battle.
“Instead of prolonging the argument surely it’s better to use the tax payer dollar on forming a non-discriminatory policy,” said Peter
The case has already cost the Ministry and Crown Law $1.4 million.
Two other members of the group Jean Burnett and her son Stuart Burnett agree its time to stop arguing and get on with doing the decent thing.
“The constant courtroom battles have taken its toll on us all and we need to put this behind us,” said Jean who firmly believes that family members are better equipped to look after high need relations as they have a better understanding of their requirements.
Although the Ministry said it did not know how many parents would want take up the option to be a paid carer it was widely reported today that the outcome has the potential to affect about 30,000 families who use home-based care. There were also differences of opinion on estimates of what it would cost if the ministry paid parents to care for disabled children. The estimates varied from a low of $17 million to a high of $593m.