COMMENT:

Congrats to the Government for finally agreeing to repeal parts of the NZ Public Health and Disability Act, and to consider changes to payments for families caring for disabled family members.

This has been a long battle for many families, and comes off the back of a Labour pre-election promise that it would repeal the legislation.

The Government said it wanted to ensure all family caregivers could "provide and be paid for assessed care for their disabled adult family member".

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And rightly so.

It's unimaginable how tough it must be for some of these families, this kind of care is not just physical but also emotional and psychological, it is often relentless, 24/7. Money won't make it any less difficult for these families, but it will surely lighten the load in terms of the amount of time and energy put into this kind of care.

Currently, the Funded Family Care policy allows payment for people who care for resident family members classed as having high or very high needs, relating to disability, long term chronic health conditions, mental health and addiction and aged care needs.

The criticism of that is that it's too restrictive, that only a few hundred highly vulnerable disabled people qualify.

In a perfect world, changes should mean partners and parents could be paid for looking after their disabled family members, but they're currently excluded.

The payments hopefully will be fairer and easier to access too.

The policy was originally rushed through under urgency by former Health Minister Tony Ryall in 2013.

Outrage ensued that it was unfair and discriminatory. Some families have been battling this for years.

So our new Labour government, the government of compassion, as Jacinda Arden called it this week on a talk show in America, needs to now put its money where its mouth is.

It's high time families were remunerated for this kind of care. They've waited long enough.

Health Minister David Clark says the changes need to be durable and flexible, they also need to be fair.

And although it'll take a couple of months consultation speaking to families on how this should work I hope this Government doesn't wait too long to do the right thing by these families - they've already waited long enough.