Member’s Bill will boost financial support for organ donors
Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley, is delighted the Financial Assistance For Live Organ Donors Bill, a Member’s Bill in his name, has been drawn from the ballot and will be debated by Parliament.
The purpose of the Bill is to increase the financial assistance provided to people who, for altruistic reasons, donate kidney or liver tissue for transplantation purposes.
The Bill will increase the support for donors from the equivalent of the sickness benefit to the equivalent of 80 per cent of the donor’s pre-operation earnings – the same formula applied to income support for ACC recipients. The Bill also provides for the payment of childcare assistance for those who require it during their convalescence.
“I was inspired to pick up this Member’s Bill, which was originally put forward by Hon Michael Woodhouse, after talking to Sharon van der Gulik at one of my first meetings as a candidate in the election last year,” Mr Bishop says. “She had been living with renal failure for more than two years and needed 15 hours of dialysis a week – before her son donated one of his kidneys to her.
“At the public meeting, Mrs van der Gulik spoke of the financial hardship that her son faced in the six weeks he spent recovering from the procedure. She argued he deserved more. I agree.
“If this Bill passes into law, greater support will be available to people like Mrs van der Gulik’s son.
“Organ donation rates in New Zealand are improving, but are still too low. It’s important they increase – live kidney donation is the least expensive form of treatment for end-stage renal failure, and significantly improves life expectancy.
“This Bill is a small but important and helpful step to increasing the number of people who donate organs.
“Wider work to increase the number of donors is being led by the Minister of Health. Budget 2014 allocated $4 million over four years to set up a National Renal Transplant Service to increase the number of live kidney donor transplantations. The funding covers donor liaison co-ordinators and continuation of the New Zealand Kidney Exchange programme. Last year’s funding increase builds on the $4 million invested in Budget 2012 to raise awareness and encourage more people to donate organs.”