New Zealand Law Society - Health Committee recommends Organ Donors Bill be passed

Health Committee recommends Organ Donors Bill be passed

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The Health Committee has reported on the Organ Donors and Related Matters Bill and recommends that it be passed with amendments.

The bill amends the Compensation for Live Donors Act 2016, the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, and the Health Sector (Transfers) Act 1993. The bill aims to increase New Zealand’s organ donation and transplantation rates by enabling the implementation of recommendations as set out in the 2017 national strategy.

The Committee received and considered 16 submissions from interested groups and individuals and oral evidence from 5 submitters.

The Committee recommended clarifying the definition of ‘usual hours’ to specify that it would be defined as the donor’s hours per week as specified in their employment agreement as this would be a more fair and consistent approach to the calculation of a qualifying donor’s usual hours of work (clause 4 inserting (a) and (b) below ‘usual hours’).

New section 9(3)(a) and (b) should be included to ensure that overseas donors are not eligible for compensation if they are already receiving earnings compensation form their own government.

Clause 9A should be included to add a new Schedule in the Act to list the names and details of overseas organ exchange programmes.

The Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange Programme (ANZKX) should be included in new Schedule 5 as this programme has already commenced and this would be more practical than requiring a separate Order in Council to approve the ANZKX programme.

Clause 2 should be amended to bring forward the commencement of Part 1 of the bill to allow for donors participating in the ANZKX programme to be eligible for compensation as soon as possible.

The Committee agrees that the NZBS would be the most suitable Crown entity to take on functions as the national organ donor agency, however a change of name would be appropriate to the New Zealand Blood and Organ Service (NZBOS) (new clauses 10A to 20).