Organ Donors Bill passes first reading

Hutt Valley news
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley, has welcomed the passing of the first reading of his Financial Assistance for Live Organ Donors Bill.

The Bill passed its first reading unanimously late tonight and has been referred to the Health Committee for public submissions.

The Bill aims to increase the financial assistance provided to live organ donors from the equivalent of the sickness benefit to the same formula applied to income support for ACC recipients (the equivalent of 80 per cent of the donor’s pre-operation earnings). Bishop says he welcomes the opportunity for further scrutiny of the Bill at the Select Committee.

“I am pleased by the strong support for this Bill and welcome the opportunity to consider a number of issues in relation to live organ donation at the Select Committee. With a large amount of public interest in this issue I am looking forward to hearing the submissions from family and friends of donors and recipients, as well as the medical community and the general public.”

A recent poll found 67% of people were in favour of organ donors receiving compensation similar to ACC, and recent stories in the media have highlighted how important this issue is to a lot of New Zealanders.

“The purpose of this Bill is to ameliorate the financial hardship faced by organ donors who can spend many weeks recovering from their procedures. It will help put an end to the stories we hear of altruistic New Zealanders like Elsie Howarth who donated an organ to her father but struggled financially during her recovery due to lost wages.

“If the Bill passes into law, kind-hearted New Zealanders will no longer be effectively penalised for their altruism, even though their actions save lives and significantly improve the life expectancy of others.

“This Bill is a small but important and helpful step to increasing the number of people who donate organs. New Zealand has low organ donation rates by international standards, and it’s important they increase.

“This Bill complements the government’s wider work to increase the number of donors in New Zealand. 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,” says Mr Bishop.