View and print this newsletter from our online archive: Update from the Transition Unit - 5 May 2022(external link)(external link)

In this edition

Planned Care Taskforce announced

Hon Andrew Little, Minister of Health has announced a high-powered taskforce to tackle urgent pressures in the health system.

Chaired by Dr Andrew Connolly, the Planned Care Taskforce will help hospitals take whatever short-term measures they can to reduce waiting times and will be responsible for delivering a national plan by September.

This involves coordinating the central commissioning of health services and working with our clinicians to prioritise the planned care activity over the next one to two years. It also means working with private hospital capacity in a more coordinated way, with subspecialty groups to advise on prioritisation and primary and community provider networks to add capacity to specialist assessment pathways.

Read the Planned Care Taskforce press release(external link).

Work underway to strengthen consumer voice

Interim entities Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority are developing a strategy to ensure communities and whānau can effectively influence decisions about the health system.

This key piece of work will help achieve New Zealand’s aspirations for equity, lifting and acting on the voices of Māori, Pasifika, people living with disabilities and other priority groups within our health system, including migrants, refugees, rainbow communities and people living in rural areas.

The joint-work programme will deliver a community and whānau voice strategy that will aim to strengthen consumer’s voices in the planning, commissioning, delivery and evaluation of health services. Its end goal will be to have community and whanau help design, deliver, measure and govern health services at a local, regional and national level.

This strategy will ensure feedback and complaints are captured in a culturally appropriate way and that our health services work for everyone. Additionally, the community and whānau voice strategy will outline how the insights of New Zealanders’ experience in the health system will be considered when measuring the performance of our new health system.

The strategy will be supported by the Code of Expectations, currently being developed by the Health Quality and Safety Commission. The Code will set out how health entities will be expected to engage with consumers,

The key focus areas for the work programme have been agreed, and the next steps will be to maintain momentum as DHB teams transition from across the health sector into Health New Zealand.

Investment in Hauora Māori

Early this year, the Māori Health Authority confirmed the allocation for its first commissioning budget of $22 million. 

As a result of the funding, more people, including non-Māori, will be able to choose to get support through a kaupapa Māori service, if that’s what will work best for them.

Mara Andrews, interim Director of Service Development and Relations, explains that the Māori Health Authority will work beyond directly commissioning Māori health services.

“The MHA will also co-commission services with Health New Zealand, which means we’ll have ‘eyes’ on all of HNZ’s commissioning activity, whether that’s with Māori or non-Māori providers,” Mara said.

“We can provide comment, leadership, advice and direction to Health New Zealand on their commissioning from a Hauora Māori perspective. We are already working like this together, even in our interim environment and putting our heads together to look at how we can transform the way services are provided and delivered for Māori.”

Meet the new Chief Executives

We recently shared a video featuring interviews with Riana Manuel, Chief Executive interim Māori Health Authority, and Fepulea’i Margie Apa, Chief Executive Health New Zealand. You can watch these on the Future of Health website in full or as short segments. Transcripts and captions are also provided in English and Te Reo Māori.

Watch the CE interviews

Earlier this week you will have received an email invitation to a hui next Monday with Riana and Margie, where they'll provide an update on work that’s been done to date to successfully progress the setting-up of both the MHA and HNZ, priorities for the next six months, and high-level organisational structures. You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback about what matters most to you.

To attend the hui, simply use this link - there's no need to register.

Date:       Monday 9 May
Time:       3.00 - 3.45pm
Location: Zoom (details below)

Link: link)

Opportunity for national approach to tackle climate change

As work continues to develop the interim New Zealand Health Plan, one team is taking the opportunity of a nationally coordinated health system to embed new ways of working that will help to tackle climate change.

Vicktoria Blake is the Project Lead of the Climate Change Working Group, which is set up to develop the chapter on how to manage the sector’s impact on climate change. She says the opportunity will have a two-fold benefit.

“Our health sector is substantial with more than 220,000 people working in it and with a presence in every single region across the country. Because of the sheer size and scale of the sector, and the fact it includes large infrastructure assets, there are substantial opportunities to make a positive impact in reducing the country’s carbon emissions,” Vicktoria said.

“In addition, we know that a person’s health is determined by a whole range of factors, such as the food they eat, how much they exercise, and whether they drink alcohol or smoke.

“But we also know that the environment plays a big role in people’s health and wellbeing – that a healthy environment supports healthy people.”

The chapter will focus on a climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable health system. It will be dedicated to activities the sector will take on over the next two years.

“While more work is needed to develop a full framework and a longer-term approach, we already have a really good understanding of what is happening across the sector and areas where there are opportunities for improvement,” Vicktoria said.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be continuing to talk to our colleagues across the sector to inform the longer-term climate change framework which will encompass broader activities across HNZ’s operations.”

The interim New Zealand Health Plan will be published in September.

Online hui focused on Te Tiriti

The Ministry of Health hosted the first of a series of four online hui on the reforms last month on Tuesday 26 April. These hui are focusing on how the new health system will uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Crown’s obligations to address historic inequity.

The panel included Minister of Health Andrew Little, Chief Executive of interim Maori Health Authority Riana Manuel, and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

The Ministry of Health’s Deputy Director-General Maori Health John Whaanga moderated the session.

Watch the first hui: Health and Disability Sector Reforms: embedding Te Tiriti o Waitangi into the health sector(external link)

The second and third hui are scheduled for Wednesdays 1 and 8 June, respectively.

New interim agency websites

New temporary websites for the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand are up and running. Visit them at:

Although these are placeholders until Friday 1 July, they serve an important purpose providing platforms on which the interim entities will link to job vacancies and share press releases and other information specific to their organisation.

These URLs will change from Friday 1 July when the interim organisations are fully established and their new, permanent websites go live.

We’ll continue to keep the Future of Health website ( up to date with news and information on the health reforms.

Search on for Public Health Advisory Committee members

The Public Health Advisory Committee is currently searching for quality members to join the Committee. It will consist of up to seven members, who will provide independent advice to the Minister of Health and Associates, reflecting the perspectives of Māori and the wider community. The Committee will engage with communities to find ways to address inequities and tackle the underlying factors that affect the health of people and communities.

Members need to understand populations’ health needs and equity issues and be well connected to New Zealand communities. Members are expected to understand the obligations of the Crown under the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, pae ora (healthy futures) and Māori expectations and aspirations. Crucially, members must think creatively to provide solutions that are not constrained by the professional boundaries of traditional health and disability sectors.

For more information visit Careers at Ministry of Health NZ(external link)

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