web analytics

Nats attacks legal aid but pays a million to defend itself

Written By: - Date published: 2:37 pm, April 30th, 2011 - 11 comments
Categories: health, law, national/act government - Tags:

“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.” (Radio New Zealand News 21 April 2011)

This is disgusting. I know of a father who when he turned 65 finally got a pay rise – it was his pension. For the bulk of his adult life he has looked after his two intellectually disabled kids at home. The only difference from other pensioners is that this man cannot retire. When I was at the Masterton A&P show in February I met a couple in their early 30s. They had three autistic children. They were at the start of this lifetime of underpaid service. This couple are on a benefit. Earlier this year John Key said that being on a benefit “was a lifestyle choice”. This was no lifestyle choice. This couple are just normal parents who love their kids and want to look after them. It is outrageous that Government after Government have allowed people with disabilities and those parents who look after their disabled children to be consigned to a lifetime of poverty and effective slavery.

This Government has embarked on a hard on law and order crusade. State cash is poured into building new and larger prisons, our right to elect trial by jury is being eroded and thanks to Simon Power you can shortly be tried in your absence. Worse as an accused person you can be penalised for not telling the State what your defence is. Criminal legal aid is attacked, and lawyers who defend accused persons are attacked as being “greedy and bloated”. Yet when the Government wants to avoid doing the morally right thing it is okay for them to spend up big with their own legal aid.

We are developing a baked bean conveyor belt justice system where accused people unless they earn less than the minimum wage will not qualify for legal aid. But even if you do, you will not be able to choose your own lawyer. Then we have the new state bureaucracy Public Defence Service – set up to “compete against the independent defence bar.” New figures out show the PDS enters guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity at a far greater rate than clients who choose their own lawyers. It was no wonder that most accused persons didn’t want to choose to use the PDS.

So the answer to this was for the Government to force you to use them by removing your right to choose your lawyer. The hypocritical thing about legal aid is that it is a loan. When you are granted legal aid unless you are destitute, a caveat is placed against your house. If you needed a loan to build that house you chose your builder – the bank didn’t assign you one from the Public Builders Service. Yet now because you need a loan to defend something far more important – your liberty you can’t choose your lawyer.

It is disgusting how the Government is eroding our rights and freedoms and is compelling kiwis to use a PDS that has a track record of pleading you out at the earliest. It is even more disgusting seeing this Government attacking legal aid for citizens yet being happy to spend over $1 million dollars defending themselves from doing what most kiwis believe is morally right.

– Michael Bott

11 comments on “Nats attacks legal aid but pays a million to defend itself”

  1. Jamaal 1

    Very good post michael, stick it to them.

  2. RobC 2

    Nice post Michael … you should add to the $1 million another six-figure sum that the IHC have been forced to spend by the Govt fighting the other disability care case going through the courts.

  3. M 3

    Michael, wonderful post.

    I have a friend who has two boys who are intellectually diasbled, one with a mental age of two and the other not much older and has done the hard yards for many years alone.

    In 2010 her eldest was put into a full time care facility in a farm like setting which meant her work was halved and many of her so-called friends chastened her for being unmotherly. Had I been privy to any of these conversations at the time I would have ripped into them because this woman should be nominated for sainthood given that she’s had vitually no life let alone respite apart from the paltry amount of respite days assigned by the state, that’s if she could find anyone to provide respite care.

    I really hope she can find somewhere for her youngest because if anyone deserves a break from the unending slavery, as you put it, she surely deserves it in her dotage.

    Fair legal representation in the future, not under NACT. We will need Bob Moodies more than ever.

  4. Aye Michael

    Good post.

    The $1.2 million paid to deny families receiving help would pay for 1,200 applications for protection orders by battered spouses.

    The Legal Aid cuts are across the board and many sectors are going to feel the pain. Whether you face jail or are unable to sort out family issues welcome to the new reality. Where the rich get a tax cut and the rest of us get a headache.

  5. terryg 5

    +1E7 michael.

    this makes me ASHAMED to be a new zealander.

  6. Craig Glen Eden 6

    Cant say I enjoyed that post as the saying goes the truth hurts and the sad thing is this is being done to NZers and so many still think Key is such a wonderful bloke just one of us I hear some say, like bloody hell he’s one of us.

    • terryg 6.1

      +1E5 Craig, you’re dead right – he ISNT one of US. He is one of THEM – the Oligarchs who privatise profits and socialise losses.

      Oh dear god (and as an atheist, that is perhaps the most offensive thing I can think of saying) the NZ public are probably going to return it (surely he’s a lizard man) and its cabal to power next election, thanks to a combination of ignorance, abject stupidity and believing anything the fucking idiot box says.

      shutup. be happy. the neighbourhood watch officer will be around in the morning to collect urine samples. obey.

      Its times like this when i realise just how much I need my Makiwara (how do you make an angry face emoticon?)

  7. tc 7

    A relentless focus on screwing those with limited means to fight back……it’s becoming a repeatable theme with the clowns.

  8. I realise the poor are… well, poor. And I’m not for one moment suggesting any of the appalling situations highlighted in this post are acceptable. But since the chance of getting them overturned are about 3/5 of FA, I wonder:

    1. Whether enough low income people would consider investing some small amount – $1 or $2 a week, say, into “defence insurance” to make it a product worthwhile for someone to underwrite?

    2. Assuming that worked, how many decent lawyers would accept briefs under such a scheme?

    3. Tangenital to the above, whether there are some benefactor(s) (within NZ or outside it) who’d consider a truly public defender service worthy of ongoing support?

  9. Peter Martin 9

    ‘It is outrageous that Government after Government have allowed people with disabilities and those parents who look after their disabled children to be consigned to a lifetime of poverty and effective slavery.’

    It isn’t the ‘Governments’. It’s you. All of you. Not one of you has ever remonstrated with your MP about this. The disabled are always off the radar. Only when court cases are won ,when the wee guy wins over the big fella…then it’s news.
    I have a disabled child and I can’t even hold the Government accountable to its own laws on schooling a child.
    These are the good years. When he leaves school…he stays at home . And I’ll wager the rules are still being changed…
    And another thing that won’t have changed? Using the disabled as an entree into the main course.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Momentum of trade talks continues with visits to promote Pacific and Middle East links
    The Government has kept up the pace of its work to promote New Zealand’s trade interests and diversify our export markets, with visits to Fiji and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker. Building momentum to bring the PACER Plus trade and development agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School attendance has to improve
    All parents and caregivers need to ensure that their children go to school unless they are sick, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said today. “The school attendance results for 2019 show, across the board, a drop in the number of students going to school regularly,” the Minister says. “Apart from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Crown and Moriori sign a Deed of Settlement
    A Deed of Settlement agreeing redress for historical Treaty claims has been signed by the Crown and Moriori at Kōpinga Marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced. Moriori have a tradition of peace that extends back over 600 years. This settlement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato Expressway driving towards completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today with Māori King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII officially opened the country’s newest road, the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway. The 15km four-lane highway with side and central safety barriers takes State Highway 1 east of Huntly town, across lowlands and streams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 3400 New Zealanders treated in first year of new hepatitis C treatment
    The rapid uptake of life-saving new hepatitis C medicine Maviret since it was funded by PHARMAC a year ago means the elimination of the deadly disease from this country is a realistic goal, Health Minister David Clark says. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which attacks the liver, proving fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kaupapa Māori approach for homelessness
      Kaupapa Māori will underpin the Government’s new plan to deal with homelessness announced by the Prime Minister in Auckland this morning. “Māori are massively overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness, so, to achieve different outcomes for Māori, we have to do things very differently,” says the Minister of Māori Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government steps up action to prevent homelessness
    1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation. Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support. Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago