web analytics
The Standard

An unjust government

Written By: - Date published: 7:11 pm, June 24th, 2013 - 17 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: ,

So the Ministry of Health has relented to some caregivers and is paying them something… but not others. Margaret Spencer has given up her life to look after her adult son, but gets no compensation for it. If she gave her son over to strangers to look after, not only would the MoH have to pay his accommodation, professional caregivers would get paid around $52,000 and only work 40 hours per week. She works 24/7 for nothing but a sense of responsibility.

It seems outrageous that she has been excluded from pay, but even victory will still not be complete – the Government’s legislation it passed in one day (Budget Day), means she can be paid a maximum of 40 hours at minimum wage.

And worse there is no judicial review of that. This case is in court on judicial review because the MoH had sought an exclusion order to prevent her being paid before the legislation had passed. There will be no judicial review of injustices in the future.

Margaret Spencer made a powerful statement to start the case (scheduled over 3 days in the Auckland High Court) as she fights for the rights of ordinary New Zealanders like her:

“This is not democracy as democracy ensures equality of rights. This is a dictatorship where the Government is trying to gag the courts. This is disrespectful.

“I have been taking care of my son for all of his life and for over 25 years since he has been an adult but the Ministry has not been doing their part towards myself and others like me. It has gone on for too long.”

17 comments on “An unjust government”

  1. Nordy 1

    Well said Ben, and well done Margaret Spencer for making the brave decision to take on the government through the courts.

    It is reprehensible that the government has forced through under urgency a law that prevents a judicial review being taken of decisions under this law.

    To call this situation unjust is being overly polite…..

    • McFlock 1.1

      Indeed.

      It’s one thing for this travesty to happen, and another for the government to just go “yeah, nah, coz we can”.

    • Mary 1.2

      Is the restriction really on judicial review? I thought it was on the ability to take cases to the Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Review Tribunal and so on, under Part 1A of the HRA – not a restriction on judicial review. Can someone clarify?

      • rosy 1.2.1

        According to the Andrew Geddis post I think National just broke the constitution on Pundit, under section 70E(2) of the bill, when the law comes in:

        no complaint based in whole or in part on a specified allegation [that the policy unlawfully discriminates] may be made to the Human Rights Commission, and no proceedings based in whole or in part on a specified allegation [that the policy unlawfully discriminates] may be commenced or continued in any court or tribunal.

        So it seems that the Human Rights Review Tribunal and the courts are both barred from making a decision about whether the the legislation is discriminatory.

      • McFlock 1.2.2

        I wish.

        “70E Claims of unlawful discrimination in respect of this Act or family care policy precluded

        “(1) In this section, specified allegation means any assertion to the effect that a person’s right to freedom from discrimination on 1 or more of the grounds stated in section 21(1)(b), (h), (i), and (l) of the Human Rights Act 1993, being the right affirmed by section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, has been breached—

        “(a) by this Part; or

        “(b) by a family care policy; or

        “(c) by anything done or omitted to be done in compliance, or intended compliance, with this Part or in compliance, or intended compliance, with a family care policy.

        “(2) On and after the commencement of this Part, no complaint based in whole or in part on a specified allegation may be made to the Human Rights Commission, and no proceedings based in whole or in part on a specified allegation may be commenced or continued in any court or tribunal.

        any court or tribunal”

        edit: lolsnap Rosy :)

        • rosy 1.2.2.1

          Hah, It requires restating many times – it’s an absolutely outrageous piece of legislation.. well, another outrageous piece of legislation that diminishes our democracy that not enough people are being outraged about.

        • Mary 1.2.2.2

          No, I think rosy’s right. It does say “any court” but the restriction relates to “a specified allegation”, i.e. one of the grounds of discrimination listed ion s 21 of the Human Rights Act. Reference to “any court” is about when claims made to the Human rights Commission go beyond the Human Rights Review Tribunal and reach the general courts, as catered for under the Human Rights Act. The restriction isn’t against judicial review. Having said that, though, judicial review wouldn’t necessarily be the avenue you would follow when challenging under those grounds, anyway. Judicial review in these circumstances wouldn’t ordinarily be that helpful.

          • McFlock 1.2.2.2.1

            If the government policy breaches the Human Rights Act by discriminating on the grounds of marital status, disability, age, or family status (which it does), then there is no recourse to either the tribunal or a court.

            They arbitrarily wrote themselves an “ignore human rights with no mechanism or review or correction” law.

            • Mary 1.2.2.2.1.1

              I think the biggest problem with the legislation is that it shows how weak the protection in the Human Rights Act that relates specifically to government really is. That protection wasn’t necessarily designed to force the government to do anything if the tribunal or court found that what ever the complaint against government was about was found to be discriminatory, but it was designed to guarantee a declaration. Government has replaced a discriminatory practice with discriminatory legislation, which is bad enough. But what’s really repugnant is the removal of the ability to challenge the new policy. This is where the blatant abuse is, and shows the weakness of the protection overall. (Having said this, the legislation, to me anyway, doesn’t remove the right to judicial review, which is what some people are saying. What’s in fact removed is the ability to challenge the carer policy under the same provisions in the Human Rights Act that the group of families successfully used to receive their declaration, this on top of replacing discriminatory policy with discriminatory legislation, of course, preventing even the possibility of a declaration, which is what the whole purpose of making government practices, policies, legislation subject to the Human Rights Act was in the first place.)

              • McFlock

                But it’s not just the human rights act.

                The practise of government policies and laws being able to be challenged and interpreted in the courts goes back hundreds of years, and is a key safeguard against tyranny.

                • Mary

                  The restriction applies to challenges to the new carers policy, which has been implemented by way of legislation, surely? The amendment was made to the New Zealand Public health Act. If what you’re saying is true government would in effect being repealing Part 1A of the Human Rights Act. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t happened. What has happened is still bad enough, of course – it’s just that I don’t think it’s gone as far as you’re saying.

                  • McFlock

                    They have, regarding the provision of support to family carers, in practise repealed 21(1)(b), (h), (i), and (l) of the Human Rights Act 1993.

                    It still exists, but the government can do whatever it wants within those bounds without anyone having recourse to a tribunal or any of the courts. They did the same thing with CERA – the government’s decision is final, no correspondence shall be entered into.

                    Of course, King John tried that line, too.

    • Mary 1.3

      Is it really about preventing judicial review? Is that what the legislation passed under urgency actually says? I think the issue is more about how weak our human rights protections are against discriminatory acts and omissions on the part of government really are, and how open to abuse Part 1A of the Human Rights Act really. The government’s response to the decision of the Court of Appeal is very much at odds with the original intention of Part 1A, I might add.

  2. Treetop 2

    I applaud a person like Margaret Spencer for speaking out and her relentless devotion to her son. At some point Margaret will not be able to care for her son and this must weigh heavily upon her.

    The government are refusing to acknowledge that at times Margaret would have been classified as having done forced or slave labour. About a decade ago I helped a man to get compensation for forced labour during the war as they were taken to Germany and forced to work in a bakery 16 hours a day, 6 days a week (initially with a gun in their face).

    Caring for a disabled adult is a dilemma as all a parent wants to do is to protect their son or daughter, (know that they are safe) for them to reach their full potential and to be well, happy and loved.

    Do they hand their son or daughter over to the state to be heavily medicated and have caregiver after caregiver and the possibilty of all forms of abuse occurring or does a parent keep parenting their son or daughter 24/7 which can be exhausting and stressful?

  3. Rosemary McDonald 3

    As the unpaid, sole carer of my pre-ACC high tetraplegic partner I am ever so slightly interested in this case. Brave Margaret for boldly going where others have gone before. As before, whatever the outcome, the MoH and the Crown law office will appeal. Because they can. And they will.

    These people do not care. They have no sympathy. They are incapable of empathy.

    They have even stooped so low as to make spurious and unfounded allegations about the quality of care family members will provide if paid.

    Though when they are not funding for any care, because family are providing care unpaid, they do not care about the welfare of the disabled person.

    The cabinet discussion documents regarding the new policy and the ammendment to the PHADAct are now available on the Ministry of Health website…a must read for those with any interest in this issue. Tells me nothing I did not already know. The Ministry and the Government see non-ACC disabled as being burdens on the state. They obviously think that enough New Zealanders will share this view..or they would not have risked doing what they did.

    And the government still rides high in the polls.

    So ok, the majority of New Zealanders don’t give a damn about non -ACC disabled being permanently consigned to sub-citizen status, but how will you all react when the government halves what it currently spends per year on prison inmates? ($90,000 pa)

  4. Rosetinted 4

    Caregivers on their own, can feel so hopeless of any real kindly help and concern from our wonderful society, one wonders how we ever got so positive about our kindness, that they might just decide to draw the line and accept the final responsibility of life, death, and take their child’s and then their own. It has happened in Nelson some years ago, during a previous reign of the tight-lipped, anally-retentive National Party’s Jenny Shipley, Ruth Richardson, et al.

    • Rosemary McDonald 4.1

      Rosetinted..”.accept the final responsibility of life, death, and take their child’s and then their own”

      This is what they term…”exhausting natural supports”. Take a look at the criteria for becomming a member of the “1600 club”….potential of family breakdown, stress etc.

      The old ambulance at the bottom of the cliff mentality that seems to dominate the area of non-ACC disability supports.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 8

  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    2 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    3 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    3 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    3 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    3 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    4 days ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour looks to put the tea back into entitlements
    Labour is moving to restore the rights of Kiwis to take tea and rest breaks, Leader Andrew Little says. “Within months of the Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill becoming law we are already seeing some of our largest companies, including… ...
    4 days ago
  • Desperate money grab to keep Ruataniwha afloat
    The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company’s decision to borrow $4 million to keep the Ruataniwha project afloat is a case of throwing ratepayer’s good money after bad, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri and Napier MP Stuart Nash.   “This bridging… ...
    5 days ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    5 days ago
  • Invermay petition delivered to Parliament
    Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark handed over a 12,450 signature Save Invermay petition to Dunedin South MP Clare Curran on the steps of Parliament today.  “The level of support that the petition has received across New Zealand is overwhelming,”… ...
    5 days ago
  • Redcliffs School closure plan wrong
    The Government’s proposal to consult on the closure of Redcliffs School not only goes against the best geotechnical advice, but more importantly goes against the best educational outcomes for Redcliffs children and the health of our community, Port Hills MP… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cotton On first to test the tea breaks law
    Australian corporate Cotton On, the first major business operating in New Zealand to exploit the new tea breaks law, could walk away from negotiations if it doesn’t get its own way, says Labour Party Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “Cotton… ...
    6 days ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • Council can stop Port’s encroachment on harbour
    As owner of the Port of Auckland, Council can stop the wharf extension and reclamation if it wants to, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Goff. ‘As owner the council is custodian of the port and harbour on behalf of… ...
    6 days ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • State house sell-off fiasco a gift for developers
    The Government’s property developer mates are the only people who can salvage National’s state house sell-off now the Salvation Army has torpedoed the policy, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Having been cynically used by the Government as the poster… ...
    6 days ago
  • National reinforces inequality in schools
    The National Government’s flagship programme Investing in Educational Success is clearly reinforcing inequality in the school system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The analysis released today by the NZEI clearly shows schools in wealthier suburbs are the main beneficiaries… ...
    6 days ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Solid Energy, who will clean up the mess?
    What can you say? This state-owned coal miner is facing some very serious problems. They haven’t run a profit in years, have required two Government bailouts, laid-off more than 700 staff and look like they need a third injection of… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere