- Date published:
8:20 am, July 8th, 2019 - 39 comments
Categories: Iain Lees-Galloway, john key, labour, law, law and "order", national, national/act government, same old national - Tags:
One of the most constitutionally outrageous things the John Key National Government did was in response to a Court of Appeal decision in Health v Atkinson which upheld a finding that to not pay caregivers who were also family members of individuals suffering from a disability discriminated against them because of their family status and was in breach of section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
How did Key’s Government respond? Andrew Geddis has the details in this post where he said he thought the Government had just broken the constitution but essentially National chose to:
Geddis’ conclusion was pretty brutal:
By passing this law, Parliament is telling the judicial branch that it is not allowed to look at a Government policy (not, note, an Act of Parliament) in order to decide whether it is in breach of another piece of legislation enacted by Parliament (the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990). In other words, the judiciary’s primary function – to declare the meaning of law and its application in particular cases – has been nullified.
Keith Ng’s analysis was even more brutal and contained lots of swearing:
… they’re doing something which was against the Human Rights Act before, and is still against the Human Rights Act after, but just made sure the people on the receiving end can’t have their legal rights recognised or enforced.
It’s saying, sure, the Government’s doing something illegal to you, but it’s okay, because we just made a law to say there’s nothing you can do about it. Lolz!
Well, it’s not okay. It’s not okay that human rights promised by law are not honoured because it costs money. It’s not okay that due processes promised by the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply because the Government says it doesn’t apply. It’s not okay that advice about how Parliament is about to piss all over the rule of law (at least I assume that’s what the legal advice says, because we can’t see it) is denied to Parliament. It’s not okay that saying “Budget, Budget, Budget” means that the Government can bypass all the checks and balances of Parliament itself and just put itself above the law overnight.
NOT. FUCKING. OKAY.
The details of the change were announced yesterday. From Derek Cheng at the Herald:
Family carers are welcoming a Government announcement to pay partners and spouses who look after ill family members up to $25.50 an hour.
The Government will also extend Funded Family Care to those caring for children under 18 and will repeal part 4A of the Public Health and Disability Act, which bans families from challenging the policy on grounds of discrimination.
It will also change the employment relationship so the person being cared for is not the employer – though exactly how this will be managed is still to be worked out.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the changes after hosting disabled family members at Premier House today with Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter, who said the 4A clause was “incredibly offensive”.
The changes were flagged in an announcement last September, and will come into effect next year once legislation has gone through a select committee process.
It is good to see that the payments will approximate a living wage. There is some angst about the assessment process being used but there is increased budget and clearly a desire on the part of the Government to make the policy work.
I am not aware of any response to the announcement by the National Party.