Thursday, May 10, 2012


Last night, Campbell Live had one of the most shameful stories I have seen about New Zealand recently: a 4-year old boy kicked out of his local childcare centre for having HIV. Worse, the childcare centre had informed local parents of his status, causing problems for the boy's siblings at a local school.

This is a clear violation of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, including physical illness. While there's an obvious exception to that in relation to public safety, it simply doesn't apply here. The boy is not infectious, and poses no risk to anyone.

(Its also a serious breach of the Privacy Act. It is difficult to imagine a more serious privacy breach than the disclosure of sensitive medical information, the sharing of which causes widespread persecution by the community. If pursued, the damages will be high, and may drive the childcare centre bankrupt. Which at least means they won't be causing problems for anyone else)

We've been here before, back in the 80's, with Eve van Grafhorst. We dealt with it better then, showing understanding and humanity towards a victim of disease. Sadly, the people of Whangarei appear to prefer hysteria. In the process, they are shaming us all.