New Zealand Medical Association Welcomes Long Awaited Health System Reforms

21 April 2021

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has welcomed the health sector reforms announced today by Minister of Health Andrew Little, and the bold systemic and legislative changes they involve.

NZMA Chair Dr Kate Baddock said “the announcements are what we have been asking for.”

“We are pleased to be at the end of a three-year decision-making process and have a clear timeline for implementation of these system-wide changes.”

Included in today’s announcement was the establishment of a new Crown Entity called Health New Zealand, a Māori Health Authority, and the establishment of a national public health agency, which will sit within the Ministry of Health.

“NZMA has been advocating strongly for the establishment of the Māori Health Authority, and we are delighted to see this being actioned. Giving the Authority autonomy, commissioning powers, and the ability to work in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand is a key step toward achieving equitable health outcomes for Māori” said Dr Baddock.

While the disestablishment of the 20 DHBs is a big change, Dr Baddock said that the creation of Health New Zealand as a centralised health agency is the right move.

“It is clear the Government has recognised the value of an integrated single entity, promoting consistency in health through a truly national system. This is a culture shift that the system has desperately needed, and we welcome this new approach.

“The NZMA will be working with the government on the design and implementation of these changes, and ensuring they are actioned in a way that is equitable and successful for both the workforce and New Zealanders.”