The new health system will be simpler and more coordinated, allowing for better and more consistent care.   

Health reform transformation

We are transforming the way we support New Zealanders to get well, stay well, live well and have healthcare choices that meet their needs. To do that, we are building the foundations to better support longer-term health transformation to really make a difference.

Transformation means making big changes while continuing to improve those parts of the health system that are working well.

The focus is on making sure everyone gets the right healthcare, where and when they need it. Right now, that doesn’t happen for a lot of people, such as people who live in struggling rural communities, Māori, Pasifika or people with disabilities. So, things are starting to change.

Health system entities

From 1 July 2022 two new health organisations assumed some of the responsibilities for our health system – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori health Authority. These two organisations will work with Manatū Hauora / Ministry of Health and a new Public Health Agency within Manatū Hauora as the new health system.

Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People was also established on 1 July 2022.

Changes to the structures of the system will not have an immediate impact on how, where and when New Zealanders receive care, or where and how you work, if you're a member of the health workforce. However, having a national health system means that changes can be made to achieve better outcomes for our health. Some changes will take a few years to put in place. 

Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand 

The new national entity, Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand(external link), is now responsible for the planning and commissioning of hospital, primary and community health services. The 20 DHBs have been disestablished and no longer exist. Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand is managing health care services by planning nationally, delivering regionally, while tailoring health care services locally with increased opportunities for community input. It operates four regional offices and each region works with their districts, located closer to local communities, to develop and implement plans based on local needs to improve the health and wellbeing of communities.

Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority

The Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority(external link), was established alongside Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, and has shared responsibility for decision-making, planning and delivery. Local iwi-Māori partnership boards help shape appropriate health and wellbeing services to meet the needs of local communities through being an influencing and decision-making voice for iwi and Māori at a local level, supporting Te Tiriti partnerships throughout the system.

Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health)

Manatū Hauora's (Ministry of Health) role as chief strategic advisor and kaitiaki (steward) of Aotearoa New Zealand's health and disability system has been strengthened and some of the things it does have changed.

Statutory roles such as the Director of Public Health and Director of Mental Health remain within the Ministry.

Public health agency  

A new Public Health Agency(external link) within the Ministry now leads population and public health policy, strategy, regulatory, intelligence, surveillance and monitoring functions across the system. This:

  • places more emphasis on the determinants of health such as employment and housing which will mean working more closely with relevant government agencies and community partners
  • uses intelligence and monitoring to strengthen the system to enable New Zealanders to live longer, healthier lives.

Public Health Units were brought together into a national public health service that is now part of Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. This ensures our Public Health Units are well equipped to respond as one to threats like COVID-19. 

To ensure focus on keeping people well for longer is embedded in the heart of our health system, the Health Promotion Agency has also merged into Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand. 

Whaikaha / Ministry of Disabled People

Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People is a new ministry set up in July 2022 to give a voice to the disabled community. Their work, done in partnership with the community and Māori, will transform the lives of many New Zealanders.

Whaikaha’s role is to lead and coordinate cross-government strategic policy. This will mean that whenever a government agency is writing policy which will impact all New Zealanders, that the rights and needs of our community are taken into account.

Collectively, the whole health system will deliver a greater focus on Māori health and addressing longstanding inequities. This will be achieved through reinforcing Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and obligations and ensuring partnership with Māori in the design and delivery of services at every level.  Supporting Māori to progress mana motuhake and rangatiratanga in this way is a key feature of the new system.

Our health system will support all New Zealanders to live longer and have the best possible quality of life.

Read more about how the system works 

Meet the health system leaders

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