The Health select committee has released a report on the Financial Assistance for Live Organ Donors Bill, recommending that it be passed with amendments.
The bill is a member's bill in the name of Chris Bishop and seeks to address New Zealand's low rates of organ donation by removing financial barriers. On introduction this included provision of income assistance to people who donate kidney or liver tissue for altruistic reasons while recuperating from surgery, ensuring beneficiaries retain their benefit while recuperating, and providing childcare assistance if required while recuperating.
The committee report notes that a report by the Attorney-General under section 7 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 concluded that the bill was inconsistent with section 19(1) of the Act. The section 7 report said individuals who receive a benefit and also receive income from working would be disadvantaged.
The committee has proposed amendments to the bill to address the issues raised, and believes it is no longer inconsistent with section 19(1).
It also recommends changing the title to Compensation for Live Organ Donors, to reflect proposed changes, which would provide donors with compensation for lost income rather than merely providing financial assistance.
The bill was referred to the committee on 26 August 2015 with submissions closing on 7 October 2015. The committee received 110 submissions and heard from 14 submitters.