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NZ Court of Appeal and the Ministry of Health

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 am, February 8th, 2018 - 66 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, disability, discrimination, health, poverty, wages, welfare, workers' rights - Tags: , , , , ,

Disability support is something almost 100% of us will use at one time or another. I wish more currently able-bodied people realised that.

– OAB

MoH Disability Support service specifications 2015 (PDF) quoted in a recent Court of Appeal ruling,

2. Disability Support Services

[The aim of disability support services] is to build on the vision contained in the New Zealand Disability Strategy of a fully inclusive society. New Zealand will be inclusive when people with impairments can say they live in ‘A society that highly values our lives and continually enhances our full participation.’

With this vision in mind, [disability support services] aims to enhance disabled people’s quality of life and enable their community participation and maximum independence. This is achieved by creating linkages that allow people’s needs to be addressed holistically, in an environment most appropriate to them. The vision of [disability support services] is to ensure “Disabled people and their families are supported to live the lives they choose”.

[Disability support services] seeks to ensure that people with impairments experience autonomy on an equal basis to others. Support options are required to be flexible, responsive and needs based. They must focus on the person and, where relevant, their family, whānau and aiga, and enable people to make informed decisions about their lives.

(Our emphasis.)

And yet, Stuff reports on the latest round of court action that disabled people and their carers have had to go through to get adequate support,

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Diane Moody, who is a full-time caregiver for her severely disabled adult son.

A mother caring for her intellectually disabled son is “absolutely ecstatic” after winning an appeal against a government decision to only pay her part-time for her work.

Auckland woman Diane Moody is a full-time caregiver for her 51-year-old son, Shane Chamberlain.

He has a severe intellectual disability, is unable to read or write and can only count to 20 with assistance.

Moody, 76, took the Ministry of Health to court in 2017 over its decision to pay her for 17 hours of work a week, at minimum wage.

Moody, who lives in Beach Haven on the North Shore, argued she worked nearly 10 times that per week.

I’m hoping that those that know more about this case and the background than I do will comment below.

Let me say though that this is a terrible indictment of the country we have become. That the civil service sees it as appropriate to effectively force an elderly woman to take them all the way to the Court of Appeal so that she has enough to live on while caring for her severely disabled son is the result of decades of reforms that have monkey-wrenched the welfare safety net, and have left support systems in such a mess.

It’s almost beyond belief that people within the Ministry of Health could consider such action proper given the situation of the actual humans involved, and it’s hard not to see this as a consequence of the social engineering from the neoliberal revolution that makes otherwise good people do really shitty things and then consider them normal. This is what happens to dependent people when for over 30 years you squeeze the funding out of the services they are dependent upon, and you enculturate the people who are tasked with doling out that funding with values that rationalise the consequences. Thank-you business model replacing social security.

Let’s lay this at the feet of successive governments, and people who stood by and preferred not to watch. Reforms to Health have been going on since the early 90s and here we are: Government vs the People, instead of government for the people.

I’m going to pull some bits out of the ruling, my bold, because here are words that are basically saying we have to start treating people as human again. The government has a responsibility to act fairly. 

The appeal requires our determination of the meaning of phrases used in layers of statutory provisions and derivative instruments to identify the relevant disability support services eligible for funding. Palmer J described these documents, with a degree of understatement, as “complex and difficult to follow”. The resultant challenge for impaired persons in understanding the nature and scope of their eligibility is obvious.

The fact that the service cannot be quantified discretely or routinely by use of the Ministry’s unit-based measurement model does not justify its exclusion. A formulaic approach to assessment is inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of the Policy. What is required is a fair estimate of the essential care which Mrs Moody provides and which the Policy is intended to support.

We are satisfied that the NASC providers’ assessment of Shane’s funding eligibility failed to recognise fully the range of services which can be performed by family members. That failure must stem from a misinterpretation of the Policy by the Minister and his agents. Therefore the Minister has erred in law. He has incorrectly interpreted the relevant policy documents and made a decision contrary to the instruments which bind him. For the reasons we have set out the error is serious and warrants judicial review.

[90] We make two additional points. First, we note that this is the third occasion on which a dispute between the Ministry of Health and parents who care for disabled adult children has reached this Court. We hope that in the future parties to disputes over the nature and extent of funding eligibility are able to settle their differences without litigation. Second, we have referred to our unease, which is shared by Palmer J, about the complexity of the statutory instruments governing funding eligibility for disability support services. They verge on the impenetrable, especially for a lay person, and have not been revised or updated to take into account the significant change brought about by pt 4A. We hope that the Ministry is able to find an effective means of streamlining the regime, thereby rendering it accessible for the people who need it most and those who care for them.

Thank-you to those judges. The challenge is now there for Labour to transform Health back into a sector that is based around the needs of people. And for us to hold them accountable until they do that adequately. Like others I’m not going to be holding my breath on this. The gulf between reality and the government’s own service specifications quoted at the top of this post is huge. But I remain open to being surprised.

A point for left wing people and progressives who have been arguing that the topup issue in a potential NZ UBI could be solved by taking extra income off disabled people and replacing it with services offered by the Ministry of Health. Please make time to take a long hard look at this case. The Ministry of Health has its own deeply entrenched culture and set of massively negatively impactful behaviours. While the particulars vary, they’re not more trustworthy than WINZ, and fixing this is no easier. These are complex systems and even under the best of governments it would take care and time to shift not just the policies but the culture that was developed alongside.

Ultimately, no matter what state of competency or disrepair the system is in, disabled people and their caregivers are entitled to a living wage.

Press release from the Court of Appeal is on scoop.co.nz

Full judgement is here (PDF).

Please also read this post by Rosemary McDonald that looks at the background to disability support services and court action in NZ, including how Labour are also culpable.

 

66 comments on “NZ Court of Appeal and the Ministry of Health”

  1. Anon 1

    ‘A society that highly values our lives and continually enhances our full participation.’ – /no-one/ has that, society doesn’t care about lives or barriers to participation minor, let alone major. Society itself is the act of /reducing/ peoples full participation in /life/.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Sure, argue semantics whilst human rights abuses go on in plain sight.

      • Anon 1.1.1

        The arguement, besides being nihilistic and a little petty, is that lifting the disadvantaged out of abject poverty (if indeed that is the long term outcome here) barely scratches the surface of the issue.

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.2

      Ah well – of you go then – head off into the wilderness where you can survive in solitude, free of the “shackles” of human, and humanitarian, society.

    • Society itself is the act of /reducing/ peoples full participation in /life/.

      That’s not society per se but capitalism and, to some degree, economics in general.

      Society wants full participation but the necessary wealth to achieve that is owned by a few and they don’t want to share.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Great post Weka. The situation – and the Ministers’ (plural) decisions indeed warrant judicial review.

    As I keep saying, the SOE model is broken. It’s time public services were returned to being public services instead of this disgusting inhuman twisted right wing fantasy.

    The only way to fix this is to destroy the legacy of the last five governments.

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      Agree on all this.

      We most certainly do need to return to a true public service ethos – and to ditch the fantasy that business is an adequate model for a government to use to manage a country, and attend to the needs of all the people within the country.

    • miravox 2.2

      Agree. An excellent post.

      And yes, this case is a clear example that MoH Disability Support is not inadequate due to the chronic lack of funding for health services generally, but an ideological position. So it seems to me that even if they did get a better budget allocation, the service levels would not change because they aim is to reduce publicly-funded disability support.

      So yeah, we need to return to public services being service not a faux-business, especially when people’s lives & well-being are at stake.

    • +111

      It’s time for governments and, in fact, everyone else to realise that running a society simply costs and that there can be no such thing as profit.

    • The Chairman 2.4

      SOEs that bring in export dollars (such as Solid Energy did) should be run as a business and seek a profit.

      SOEs that provide a local public service or commodity (such as electricity) should be provided at cost.

  3. Ad 3

    The parents who took this all the way are total heroes. Rosemary was on target yesterday and sounded like very, very hard life experience to go with it.

    This needs a quick Cabinet paper and Minister Clark needs to kick those MoH officials out.

    • Antoine 3.1

      What makes you think a Minister can reach into their department and fire specific individuals??

      A.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Ad’s too embedded in the twisted fantasy to notice that it’s the delivery model that needs to be sacked.

      • Ad 3.1.2

        They do it regularly, one briefing at a time. Pretty small place The Terrace.

        • Antoine 3.1.2.1

          How can they fire a public servant who doesnt want to leave? Please be specific, Im genuinely curious.

          Can you give any examples where this has happened?

          A.

          • Ad 3.1.2.1.1

            They’re called restructures. They are perpetual.

            PSA can give you chapter and verse on how to make it legal. They’ve seen it all.

    • adam 3.2

      I agree Ad, I think a review of many within the ministry is absolutely necessary.

  4. Rosemary McDonald 4

    Thanks weka for this post, and I hope much deep discussion and debate will ensue!

    You linked to the post I linked to on Daily Review last night, and there’s another PA post from late 2016 analysing this NASC document….

    “NASC Guideline-High Cost Community Plans.”

    …. (which I believe is the mysterious document the Judge quotes towards the end of the decision ) that was passed to me by a friend who had to make an OIA request to extract it from behind the NASCA paywall.

    https://publicaddress.net/access/help-needed-deciphering-the-plan-for-high/

    • miravox 4.1

      That is essential reading

      I’m still trying to work this one out. It reads like authoritarian pre-empting of dissent

      Service co ordinations need to be based on ESSENTIAL NEEDS only.

      • MOH does not fund lifestyle choice (ie where natural support would otherwise fill the need) – for example when the family refuse other government funded supports (ie rehab/respite or MSD funded day services).

      • NASC must use the ICARe process to determine the need for direct physical support (hands on support needs) at all times ensuring that natural supports (not considering lifestyle choices such as full time work) are included in the support plan. Funding will be based on assessed support hours and will be based on core staff costs.

      Natural support? I’m guessing that’s an expectation that a parent will be a full-time carer, even if they’re 76 years old? Obviously, paid work outside the home would be a ‘lifestyle choice’ with this expectation. This is just nuts, and the wording suggests a lifetime of indentured labour for the ‘natural support’.

      Funding based on core staff costs? Only vary rarely would ‘core staff costs’ (i guess these are defined somewhere) mean actual costs.

      • Rosemary McDonald 4.1.1

        “I’m still trying to work this one out. I” Hah! Hence this…https://publicaddress.net/access/help-needed-deciphering-the-plan-for-high/

        Bearing in mind that I wrote that post back in November 2016.

        And threw it in front of a bunch of people with far better insight into ‘the system’ than my tiny wee brain can manage.

        In one of the comments I referred to the now newly minted Honourable Member Greg O’Connor’s much promoted involvement with the Contracted Provider of Residential Care for the MOH the Hohepa Homes Trust. An organisation receiving $40 million from the MOH for supporting 250 clients.

        By my calculations, that’s a cool $160,000 per client per year.

        Way in excess of the $80,000 limit imposed by the MOH for SNP allocated at NASC level.

        The Misery of Health still believes that people with disabilities should be warehoused and silent….as indicated by where they send the Big Bucks.

        • Difference Engine 4.1.1.1

          yup, following the money does usually show what the underlying beliefs are. They certainly don’t treat people with complex disabilities as human beings like them.

          Sorry but I see most of those out of home living situations where disabled people are forced to flat with others they haven’t chosen or to live in rest homes or the like as incarceration. A considerable loss of freedom, autonomy, health and safety goes hand in hand. A lifetime sentence for the crime of being disabled, but a sentence which is the state’s expected consequence for not having enough “natural supports” to live in your own home.

          It is all too easy to ensure silence. You make survival so difficult that there’s no time or energy for much else, simply done by ensuring a hand to mouth existence, or complete dependence on paid strangers who may not give a sh*t about you.

  5. jcuknz 5

    The final word of the news report I heard was
    “The department is considering if to appeal this decision”
    Disgusting! is putting it mildly.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      Isn’t there some wise and pithy quote about those who keep on repeating the same actions after persistently failing?

      Crown Law has been fighting Family Carers for over a decade…and even before the Atkinson case went to the HRRT in 2008 the Crown Lawyers interaction with the mediators at the HRC was described somewhere as ‘mad, bitchfacing cock blocking’. A quote that never fails to make me smile and feel a little less alone in my contempt for these people.

      Crown Law keep bloody losing these cases. As adam says below at (8), its a waste of valuable $$$, not to mention time and energy and soul.

      But Crown Law did have a win initially with this Chamberlain case…and I believe their joy at this rare win contributed in no small way to their particularly nasty attitude to my fellow plaintiffs in the next case heading to court…yawn…

      • Chris 5.1.1

        There’s a real opportunity here for Ardern’s government to fix this mess. A lot of these cases were initiated under a Labour government and it suited National governments to carry on. Surely Ardern doesn’t want to be seen as leading a government that continues unbridled litigation against the most vulnerable? A perfect situation for her to mark this government out as difference from previous Labour-led train wrecks. Everything is there for her to sort it out, including restoring the right to challenge under the HRA which was removed by the nats following Atkinson. Ardern just needs to do it.

        • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1.1

          Chris. An opportunity indeed, and a cynical person just might have emailed Certain People a few weeks ago and reminded them of pre election promises and Manifestos and the like, and how simply repealing the PHDAct(2) and ditching FFC would be a really cheap way of boosting PR and consolidating cred.

          Was ignored.

          As were others in the same position…in fact one dedicated squeaky wheel (with justification btw) claims that their emails have now been blocked.

          I’ve been neck deep in this for nearly a decade and I’m getting kinda beyond hope.

          Labour could have sorted this and didn’t.

          National/Maori Party/Act thought giving the single digit salute to the Human Rights Act and disabled New Zealanders and their chosen family carers was completely fine so long as their lies that there would be a fiscal apocalypse if they didn’t remove our human rights were swallowed by the plebs.

          If this Labour government does anything…it will only be after consulting with their advisers from The Misery of Health who will spout their faux concern bs, fool another incoming and largely ignorant Minister and around we’ll go again.

      • Natalie 5.1.2

        ‘mad, bitchfacing cock blocking…….’ bah ha ha ha…OMG, I wont be able to keep a straight face with them now!!!…

    • OncewasTim 5.2

      As I’ve said before, unfortunately the culture and attitude amongst many of our snr public servants running litlle feifdoms means they DO NOT like having their inadequacies and incompetancies to be challenged. And they’re given the means to fight back hard. U

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.2.1

        “As I’ve said before, unfortunately the culture and attitude amongst many of our snr public servants running litlle feifdoms means they DO NOT like having their inadequacies and incompetancies to be challenged. And they’re given the means to fight back hard. ”

        Really needs to be said again.

        And again.

  6. Difference Engine 6

    Great post Weka. As you say this is a complex problem and it won’t be easy to shift both these faulty policies and the embedded ministry/agency attitudes and culture which tend to cling to the status quo, even if there is effort from above to change.

    But we must have change, and we must have it soon, for too long disability support has been either ignored or left in the too hard basket.

    Fair treatment will have benefits for all of us.

    and yes, jcuknz, the chances are high that this appeal court decision will not be taken well by the MoH. Likelihood that Diane and Shane will go through yet another needs assessment and still be offered sod all? Very high. Likelihood that the decision will be appealed? Almost certain. Why? Because the MoH is not primarily concerned with supporting people with disabilities, its priorities lie elsewhere.

    • Deadly Statistical Clock 6.1

      Why? Because the MoH is not primarily concerned with supporting people with disabilities, its priorities lie elsewhere.

      This. The MoH is primarily concerned with making sick people well in as cost-efficient and KPI-efficient a manner as possible. Disabled people are seen as expensive, permanently sick, incurable, and without the decency to die off quickly. Incidentally, you’ll find in all sorts of disability support documents that they explicitly DO NOT FUND “health”. Need help popping your medication out of its blister pack because your crippled fingers don’t work so great? Sorry, MoH-funded caregivers can’t do that.

      Disability support needs to be divorced from the MoH. We need our own Ministry. Perhaps initially staffed and guided by some of the folks from ACC, who seem to have slightly more respect for disabled human life than MoH.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.1

        “…the folks from ACC, who seem to have slightly more respect for disabled human life than MoH.”

        Nah, Deadly Statistical Clock, ACC are bound by Legislation that gives claimants Entitlement. If it can be proved that their failure to fund supports has resulted in further Harm…then their arses get sued.

        It is clearly spelled out on the Miserly’s website that eligibility does NOT confer entitlement.

        In fact…Judge Harrison uses the word ‘entitlement’ in his decision….won’t go down too well.

        I’d love to think that ACC have cuddles for the disabled folk, but sadly, no…they have to be nice, or there’s a squadron of lawyers poised ready to swoop down and wave the appropriate bit of Legislation in their faces.

        • Difference Engine 6.1.1.1

          the fact that we have no entitlement and live at the whim of the MoH is abhorrent. There should be entitlement to a reasonable quality of life, the supports required for that being unique to each person, but worked out openly with reasons and justifications provided. And an independent complaints authority.

          The lack of entitlement is another lever for silence because if you complain or try to get your situation improved, you are seen as a troublemaker. Often the consequence for that is a loss or reduction of already inadequate supports.

      • Difference Engine 6.1.2

        yes, you are absolutely right about the MoH, it is not a good, natural fit as a disability support funder. Not a natural supporter you might say.

        As with the major measure taken to change Aotearoa’s culture around supporting children, we need a fresh approach from a different, unprejudiced, group of hands, with sufficient funding to set up and run a sensible system, with initial and ongoing high level input from every group of disabled people and their families, not just the more able and vocal ones.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    Dear Rosemary, Thank you for adding to Weka’s post with your knowledge.

    I was a teacher, deputy principal and in my later years a teacher of the disabled, some with high to very high needs. Without going into what would be private details, here is one form of penny pinching.

    One child, a solid 8 year old, was in nappies. He had been diagnosed as cognitively 9 months. Because at that time it cost $3.50 for each nappy change done by a teacher aide, I as teacher was expected to potty train him. (He weighed what I did).

    When for obvious reasons that failed, I was told to do his changes, which I did in my last stint before retirement. saving the Health Department $7 to $10.50 a day.

    It struck me that an adult who was cognitively aware to be subjected to being changed in a school toilet for the disabled with no real facilities, must be mirrored in homes throughout NZ.

    The Health Department saving a dollar here and a dollar there, with no real grasp of the enormity of the degrading grind they were subjecting their “Clients” to, or the way their staff felt they had to “save” money, rather than support the needs with dignity. So the aim to save dollars creeps in and subverts the intentions.

    A great deal of money was spent on experts assessing and writing reports on clients
    progress/changes. These were meant to form the basis for allocations of funding.
    However, they were often interpreted by lay people with no or little training.

    The resulting practice was often less than desirable and because interpreting the medical information happened in this way it was often misconstrued. More money saved at the expense of Clients.

    The struggle of fighting different levels of bureaucracy was huge for the involved families. They often showed levels of stress more related to a disaster. Divorce was common. Illness caused by stress was rife, and mitigation of these effects minimal.

    No one appeared to consider the families’ needs. They were expected to “get on with it” At that time there were respite holidays, but that didn’t compensate for broken sleep, work loads that never diminished, and a paucity of opportunities for carers to socialise. I hope this government does better and I have written to Carmel Sepuloni about this.

    • Difference Engine 7.1

      Sorry, I commented below, new to this Board.

      Yes Patricia, there are many truths in your tale. Those making needs assessments for instance, are often almost completely ignorant of the realities of daily life for those they assess. Often these people are completely unqualified and trained only enough to complete the forms in a manner satisfactory to the NASC. When they do have disability knowledge, it is often in an area completely unrelated to those they are assessing, but they think it gives them enough insight/knowledge.
      We would do so much better and be so much more cost effective if the actual disability support needs were properly assessed and catered for. Money would then go where it is actually needed to improve lives instead of into the bureacratic tiers of agencies.

      We can hope that this government, with its declaration that it wants to be kind and fair, will do the right thing by Shane and Diane, and look at how it can make things fair for others in similar situations. But I won’t hold my breath, we’ve been waiting an awful long time already while they futz around with “demonstrations” and “transformations”.

      • patricia bremner 7.1.1

        Yes DifferenceEngine, I think of this system like the “New and Improved” products in Advertising. “New “meaning different and” improved” meaning something left out!!!

        A take on “streamlined services” !!! Streamlined to the bone and beyond.

    • Rosemary McDonald 7.2

      “No one appeared to consider the families’ needs.”

      Most dream of the day when one of the many Contracted Providers with their snouts firmly in the funding trough ask us “We are here to help, what do you need?” and actually mean it.

      You may wonder patricia from whence my sometimes angry and cynical comments come from, especially with me not embracing the New Government and accepting that they are different from the Previous Incumbents.

      This is the source of my deep cynicism.

      I have written to the New People in the Funny Shaped Building on The Hill about this and laid out a fairly simple plan to Put This Right.

      They have not got back to me. 🙁

      • patricia bremner 7.2.1

        No reply to me either Rosemary. I think we have to become more visible and in their faces, before they forget what they are there to do. Looking at some of the archaic language used in parliament they could lose wood in the trees. Bureaucracy.

        You vent away as often as you need to. Struggling every day is not good for the soul. Thankfully the internet helps connect us with other people, and you always talk to the issue. xx Bloody hard as that may be. Being stoic can make you sick.

        I think everyone here should post on Jacinda and Carmel’s facebook, every one of these cases, and press for change. Keep on keeping on is what we can do.
        We need to make them “see” and truly “feel”.

    • Natalie 7.3

      HI Patricia…thank you thank you thank you, for your post.

      As a parent and solo mum to a 16 year old with severe disabilities…every word you wrote, is very much the systemic world we live.

      I salute and support our Special Learning Unit staff at my daughters school…so so much respect and understanding for the amazing ‘job’ they do – giving my daughter a fabulous access to the community and involvement in every aspect of the school she attends..absolute hero’s!!

      Thank you for your support and writing to Carmel.

      Natalie x:)

  8. adam 8

    What I’m worried about is another round of wasteful appeals, and more court cases. The MoH is producing nothing but, “we know better” arguments, which at this point, make them look like right muppets.

    I think anyone who lets this get to court within the MoH, has to explain to taxpayers, why they have failed to do their job in such a spectacular manner. Preferably in front of a video camera.

    • patricia bremner 8.1

      Excellent idea Adam. Often change does occur when attitudes are reflected back to the perpetrators. They “see” themselves, and, not in a good way!!

  9. Sparky 9

    I remember having to fight tooth and nail for help when looking after a terminally ill family member. It sounds like things have gotten far far worse in the meantime.

    Lets see if this coalition’s fine words are matched by fine actions. So far its not looking good but who knows.

    Suffice to say its disgraceful and underlines the reason we need substantial changes to not just our electoral system but also our system of govt to ensure they are accountable once in office.

  10. Difference Engine 10

    Yes Patricia, there are many truths in your tale. Those making needs assessments for instance, are often almost completely ignorant of the realities of daily life for those they assess. Often these people are completely unqualified and trained only enough to complete the forms in a manner satisfactory to the NASC. When they do have disability knowledge, it is often in an area completely unrelated to those they are assessing, but they think it gives them enough insight/knowledge.
    We would do so much better and be so much more cost effective if the actual disability support needs were properly assessed and catered for. Money would then go where it is actually needed to improve lives instead of into the bureacratic tiers of agencies.

    We can hope that this government, with its declaration that it wants to be kind and fair, will do the right thing by Shane and Diane, and look at how it can make things fair for others in similar situations. But I won’t hold my breath, we’ve been waiting an awful long time already while they futz around with “demonstrations” and “transformations”.

  11. Jum 11

    When do the public servants move from one government’s instructions to anothers?
    i.e. when can the Labour Government be rightly taken to task for not reversing legislation involving this inhumane treatment of our fellow citizens doing a job most of us would be terrified to take on (a labour of love but still backbreaking work)? Or does it just involve the Health Minister gathering his public servants together and saying “this is how I want it done” and ending contracts of those that refuse to move forward with a more humane attitude to the public they serve?

    This sounds very much like a solo parent doing the job of two parents and being treated like shxt for being in that position.
    i.e. twice as much of a work load (involving a labour of love but is still work), but given half the income reasonable to live on.

    • McFlock 11.1

      From now if not 100 days ago.

      The minister should at least be showing progress on the issue, if it can’t be solved by a simple rewrite.

      Multiple court cases show a systemic problem, so it’s the minister’s problem. By now the minister should have asked the ministry what’s going on (if he was completely oblivious in opposition – if he did his job in opposition, he should have been asking questions from day 1). Questions in the house can also throw the cat amongst the pigeons, down to DHB level if the question is phrased correctly.

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.2

      “Or does it just involve the Health Minister gathering his public servants together and saying “this is how I want it done” and ending contracts of those that refuse to move forward with a more humane attitude to the public they serve?”

      Jum…you have raised probably the most important question in all of this.

      Without writing screeds…I came to the conclusion back in 2012 that the then Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Ryall did not have a single clue what was going on within his own Ministry regarding disability supports. The fwit even brought in how much more ‘paying family carers’ was going to cost if you factored in ACC. (For those who don’t know, ACC has been paying family carers of long term disabled for decades, and when Atkinson went to the HRRT in 2008 ACC told that 50% of funded home based care was provided by family.)

      Much delving into the dark web finding historical documents outlining the history of funded disability supports (especially after the closing of the Big Institutions) has led me to believe that there is a network of individuals involved in divvying up the MOH (and sometimes ACC) disability $$$. Some work at the Ministry then go and work for an NGO or Contracted Provider, then recycle back to the Ministry through some back door arrangement. At least three of the current Higher Ups within the Ministry worked for the Capital and Coast DHB. The word ‘incestuous’ comes to mind, but of course I can’t say that. 😉

      It appears to be a self sustaining system. and its almost like they have made some devil’s pact to protect their patch and each other.

      What convinced me that all was not quite right…no amend that… that there was much that was very wrong in the Ministry of Health was around the time that the Government was preparing and finally releasing the Part 4 amendment to the Public Health and Disability Act which told family carers…”okay, you bastards took us to court and won and this is how we are going to punish you for even putting it out there that you can provide as good as if not better care than the Contracted Providers we are more than happy to pay.”

      At the very same time (like within days) as family carers were being whipped and sent to the margins…Ministry of Health Contracted Providers were suffering in a media shit storm themselves. Horrific accounts of abuse and neglect at the hands of these Contracted providers were brought to the attention of a horrified public.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8712369/Abuse-claims-at-seriously-dysfunctional-care-home

      https://nzfvc.org.nz/news/review-residential-care-services-disabled-people-released

      “The report states “Many disabled people have learnt to be silent about abuse through fear of retribution, losing services they depend on, or perceiving they deserve to be abused. As a result, many have become invisible.””

      And yet, the then CEO of the organisation set up to protect and promote the interests of these Contracted Providers, an ex Ministry of Health staffer made two significant public statements around this time. One statement expressed concern that Family Carers who were now to be paid would not provide the same quality of care her members did, and the other whined about the negative and biased media attention over abuse and neglect from her members and how her organisation was going to work with the Ministry to restore public confidence in their services.

      The disability dollar belongs to the Contracted Providers…I am pretty sure this is actually written somewhere, invisibly…that every single tax dollar going to MOH disability supports has to be filtered through one of these Contracted Providers.

      • patricia bremner 11.2.1

        Wow!!! That is terrible, and cause for an inquiry. Would a letter to the Minister of Justice, Andrew little make a difference? New eyes of a fair man?

        • Rosemary McDonald 11.2.1.1

          patricia bremner… An inquiry would be great.

          What would be a good start in shedding light on the ‘competing interests’ that guided the National Government to pass the Part 4 amendment to the Public Health and Disability Act would be to immediately reveal ALL of the blanked out sections of this Regulatory Impact Statement.

          Click to access ris-moh-fcc-may13.pdf

          This is legislation governing the expenditure of taxpayer money. OUR money.

          There should be total transparency and no place whatsoever for ‘legally privileged and confidential’ on any government document involving the distribution of taxes for the provision legislated government supports.

          Not in a democracy.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2.1.1.1

            An inquiry would be great

            A truth and reconciliation commission would be more appropriate. In the meantime, what more does the government need to know that Justice Harrison hasn’t already dragged into the light? The law as it stands is a human rights violation.

            • Anon 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh, to have a court enforceable BORA…

            • Rosemary McDonald 11.2.1.1.1.2

              “In the meantime, what more does the government need to know that Justice Harrison hasn’t already dragged into the light? ”

              I’m not ignoring your question OAB, I just trying to figure out if I have enough life left to list everything. 🙁

              A little time spent reading some of the comments here will indicate common themes…but mostly that there is nothing much worth salvaging from the existing system.

              And I would add that most, if not all, of the ‘consumer reference groups’ advising on the restructuring of disability support systems and carer support systems are stocked with people who are funded in some way by the Ministry. 😉 🙁

              • Rosemary McDonald

                “…most, if not all, of the ‘consumer reference groups’ advising on the restructuring of disability support systems and carer support systems are stocked with people who are funded in some way by the Ministry.”

                Case in point.

                (#Notmyrepresentative)

                http://insitemagazine.co.nz/2018/02/08/opinion-laurie-hilsgen-government-needs-to-review-carer-policies/

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                there is nothing much worth salvaging from the existing system.

                That’s the point eh: the system needs a compete reset. More rounds of consultation aren’t going to change that.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  Could someone please check the link above to the Insite piece by Laurie Hilsgen, CEO of Carers NZ? It worked when I posted last night, but I can’t access that site at all now. It could very well be a problem at my end.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Still works for me 🙂

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      Thanks. 🙂 for me too now.

                      I just wanted to write back to the Insite editor about another issue raised in that piece.

                      Note to self…screenshot, screenshot, screenshot

      • Jum 11.2.2

        Thank you for that info, Rosemary and from McFlock,

        “The disability dollar belongs to the Contracted Providers…I am pretty sure this is actually written somewhere, invisibly…that every single tax dollar going to MOH disability supports has to be filtered through one of these Contracted Providers.”

        Why? Is this an arms length exercise to avoid having to acknowledge the impact government policy has on those supports/carers?

        I like the following (6.1) suggestion, because it recognises that disability occurs both by accident and by birth and the person’s likelihood of improvement is low to zero, but needs support and quality of life. It also requires people that want to help humans, not to massage statistics and they should be carefully chosen.
        ***
        (Deadly Statistical Clock 6.1 8 February 2018 at 10:56 am

        “Disability support needs to be divorced from the MoH. We need our own Ministry. Perhaps initially staffed and guided by some of the folks from ACC, who seem to have slightly more respect for disabled human life than MoH.

        Why? Because the MoH is not primarily concerned with supporting people with disabilities, its priorities lie elsewhere.”)
        ***
        Prime Minister Ardern needs to be bold here. Every New Zealander needs to understand that every New Zealander has a right to public good services, and the more personal the better.

        Publically funded Private providers also require government oversight costing more money than could possibly be saved, so probably isn’t observed. Caring for human welfare is a government’s job. Families are first carers; government is their partner. No private agency is required.

  12. Delia 12

    National and Labour dragging families with the most vulnerable members through court. Could it get any worse? National passing legislation to stop families going into court. North Korea anyone? They know damn well that if you have a disabled family member that it is 24 hour care, because if they were not in need of 24 hour care, they would not be on the Ministries books. God they totally disgusts me. All of you Clark govt, Key govt.

  13. cleangreen 13

    Good call weka,

    Not withstanding; – every time I present my Multiple Chemical Sensitivities case (MCS) of my long term disabilities that follow the injuries I sustained that triggered this long term disability to either the public or any “health agency” all I receive is “ridicule” even though many overseas countries now recognise this debilitating chemical injury to others it seems to me to be pointless asking the NZ health system to comply with our medical needs as the current NZ Medical association follows the same line as dictated by the chemical manufacturers and big pharma industries, that keep on refusing to say that their chemicals harm humans or repeat that “chemicals have no serious side-affects to humans”

    Since my injuries were well documented in 1992 for six months while i was employed inside a large building while the whole building had absolutely no ventilation at all while the contractors where spraying toxic chemicals around there, including very toxic ‘two pot epoxy resins’ in there; – we were never told to abide by the manufacturers recommendations to only apply such products in a “well ventilated” location, we were left working for six months in that environment with no ventilation.

    We fought to have MCS included in the NZ “declaration to the UN human rights charter for the disabled in 2011 as now seen in (“Article 8” ‘other disabilities’) we still have absolutely no medical disability support given us till today for people with Multiple Chemical sensitivities.

    https://www.multiplechemicalsensitivity.org/the-symptoms-of-multiple-chemical-sensitivity/(MCS)

    Click to access Multiple-Chemical-Sensitivities-Brochure.pdf

    Thank you for highlighting our issues weka as we are those without any voice out there in the public suffering still today.

    We hope the NZ Medical association hear our call for recognition finally while labour coalition is ruling parliament.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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