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Chris Bishop - AlopeciaNZ petition presented at Parliamenton 15 February
Paul Jackson from AlopeciaNZ (centred) and supporters with Chris Bishop at Parliament presenting the petition.
National List MP based in Hutt South and member of the Health Committee Chris Bishop has accepted a petition from AlopeciaNZ seeking increased support for people who are affected by the autoimmune condition known as Alopecia.
“The condition, which affects both children and adults occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles causing partial or complete loss of hair.
“Currently, those who are affected by Alopecia are only able to claim subsidies to reduce the cost of purchasing and maintaining a wig or hairpiece or other related products, but the amount is low and not nearly enough.
Paul Jackson, spokesperson for AlopeciaNZ, says, “the petition calls on the Government to increase the funding to better reflect the true cost of wigs, shorten the claim periods from the current 10 years to 2 years, particularly for children and young people, and allow funding to be approved for additional products and services, such as micro-blading, that aren’t currently covered.”
“This is an important issue for those affected by Alopecia in New Zealand. There is no cure for the disease. While it may not be life threatening, I know the wellbeing impacts for those it affects are absolutely huge”, says Mr Bishop.
Mr Jackson says that people with Alopecia are currently left to fund expensive treatments or wigs they need to lead a normal life and often have no choice but to go without.
“While it’s unclear how many alopecians are in New Zealand, roughly 1-2% of the population have some form of Alopecia Areata. It is perhaps best to say that it is ‘not uncommon’. The Ministry of Health say its records show 621 reached out for help in the last year. And we know there’s more.”
“Nearly 2800 people have signed the petition and we are looking forward to Parliament considering it.”
Notes for editors: Currently, those affected from this autoimmune condition can access a grant payment to reduce the cost of purchasing and maintaining a wig or hairpiece or other related products.
For adults (with permanent hair loss) entitlement is $2280 (GST incl) over a nine-year period, and can claim all of or part of your $2280 entitlement at any time over the nine-year entitlement period. For adults (with temporary hair loss) entitlement is $400 (GST incl) over a one-year period, and can claim all of or part of your $400 entitlement at any time over the one-year period. For children (with temporary or permanent hair loss) under 18 years of age, the entitlement is $1200 (GST incl) over a three-year period or until they turn 18, if that happens first.