In New Zealand the following key documents outline your rights and are enforceable under domestic law.
The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer's Rights
This document summarises how all registered health professionals should treat patients in the health system. It also applies to disability services and is part of the Health and Disability Commissioner's Act.
When you are receiving healthcare you should be told about these rights. Professionals are expected to follow these principles at all stages of treatment from admission to discharge. These are; respect, dignity, independence, effective communication, support and the right to informed consent. For example, if you have difficulty in a hospital setting communicating your needs and preferences, you can ask for a support person to be present or a meeting with the local advocacy service, who will work to ensure that doctors and nurses communicate with you effectively.
Disability services are also covered by the code - these include goods, services and facilities provided to people with disabilities for their care or support or to promote their independence.
The Human Rights Act 1993
This states that;
It is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability in any of the areas of public life covered by the Act. The Act covers disabilities, which people have presently, have had in the past, or which they are believed to have. It is also unlawful to discriminate against relatives or associates of people with a disability, because of that disability. This can mean, for example, a spouse, carer or business partner.
There are exceptions to this.
The Human Rights Commission has launched a new guide on complaints that you may find useful.
Other key pieces of legislation that you may find relevant include:
- The Social Security Act 1964
- The Accident Compensation Act 2001
- The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988
- Employment Relations Act 2000
- The Minimum Wage Act 1983 and the exemption permits for workers with a disability
- If you have a legal problem relating to disability you can contact Auckland Disability Law who will try to help resolve it or find someone who can
- And you can find more detailed legal information in the Community Law Manual