My vote: Disability issues

Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014

What issues will get your vote?

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What issues will get your vote?

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We asked our readers to share what issues will be getting their vote in this year's election. Rosemary McDonald wants to see changes in disabilities support.

The amendment to the Public Health and Disability Act that was rushed through Parliament with unseemly haste on May 17, 2013, must be revoked.

This was the Government's response to over 10 years of negotiations and legal argument that found that the Health Ministry policy of not allowing a person with a disability to choose a family member as their paid carer was a breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act - the policy is discriminatory.

At the same time as the Government's move, reports of serious neglect, abuse and assaults in residential facilities for people with disabilities run by Health Ministry contracted providers filled the headlines.

One of the reasons people with disabilities choose family as their carers is that the service from contracted providers can often fail to meet the needs of the person, or serious issues have arisen with service provision. Care from family members is considered by those who choose it to be of higher quality, more reliable and safer.

Family members eligible to be paid under the new Family Funded Care scheme have highly restrictive terms and conditions and are treated differently.

Those of us who are not eligible to be paid for the care we provide cannot seek any legal redress. Yet, contracted providers who have utterly failed to provide even remotely adequate care are almost never held to account.

If I vote it will be for the party that puts rectifying this travesty high on its list of priorities.

Disability can strike any family. If you are lucky enough to have your disability covered by ACC, you're OK.

If you are unlucky enough to fall under Health Ministry disability support services prepare for endless battles and substandard support.

It is about time we, as a nation, demanded that the disparities between the two systems is addressed. Now 

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