20 May 2013

PM says family carers legislation is constitutional

9:42 pm on 20 May 2013

Prime Minister John Key says a new law that pays family members for looking after their disabled relatives is constitutional, even though it prevents legal action by new claimants.

The Government announced funding in the Budget to pay 1600 family carers as part of a policy costing $23 million a year.

The New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) enacting the change was passed last Friday under urgency by 63 votes to 55 with the support of National, ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.

The bill caps payment at 40 hours a week, enables family carers to be paid less than others and prevents legal action by new claimants.

It contains a clause stating that no one can complain on the grounds of discrimination, which the Attorney-General says breaches the Bill of Rights Act.

Mr Key said on Monday the Government believes that the legislation is legal and constitutionally correct.