'Recognising the heroes' - MP's bill will give organ donors full compo while they recover

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The National MP who promoted a new law to provide kidney donors with full financial compensation says it's about fairness and recognising the heroes that are live organ donors.

People donating a kidney will soon have the relief of full financial compensation for lost income for six weeks while they're recovering, under the new law that's part of a drive to encourage more organ donors.

People donating a kidney will soon have the relief of full financial compensation while they're recovering.
Source: 1 NEWS

The law was inspired when kidney transplant recipient Sharon van der Gulik told National list MP Chris Bishop about the case of her grandson Matt van der Gulik who donated one of his kidneys when hers were failing.

It left him unable to work and struggling financially on a sickness benefit. 

"It didn't even feed him and his dog, let alone pay his mortgage," Mrs van der Gulik said outside Parliament today before the family witnessed the passing of the compensation bill.

Matt van der Gulik said he had six weeks off work and then had very little income, a mortgage, rates and other expenses to pay. 

Mrs van der Gulik decided to speak up at a public meeting held by now National MP Chris Bishop who was moved by her family's situation and promised to do something. 

"It's about fairness and about recognising the heroes that are live organ donors," Mr Bishop said today.

Now, two years on, Mr Bishop has steered a Member's Bill into law that will pay donors 100 per cent of their income for up to eight weeks plus childcare costs if needed. 

In 2015 there were 78 live donors who donated a kidney or part of their liver, and while the rate of live and deceased donors is slowly increasing, New Zealand still has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world.

"The evidence is pretty clear that financial barriers is one thing that people do think about," Mr Bishop said.

Mrs van der Gulik said for one person to come off kidney dialysis will save about half a million dollars.

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