This page contains videos about the health system reform.

Reforming our health system

Hon Andrew Little, Minister of Health, and Hon Peeni Henare, Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health)
23 September 2021

Hon Andrew Little

E ngā Matāwaka huri noa tena tatou katoa.

Earlier this year we announced the reform of the health and disability sector.

The reforms are all about fixing our public health system so it works for everyone.

At the centre of the changes we’re making is the establishment of two new organisations – Health New Zealand which will see our 20 DHBs become one organisation, and the Māori Health Authority which will provide new leadership on hauora Māori.

What we want is a health system where everyone has access to consistent, high-quality health services when and where they need it - no matter who they are or where they live.

Our goal is to transform our health system to help all New Zealanders live longer, in good health with the best possible quality of life.

There’s been a lot of interest in the reforms so we wanted to take the opportunity now, to give an update on the progress we’ve made.

Hon Peeni Henare

But before that we’d like to acknowledge the additional challenges, more recently with the resurgence of COVID19 in the community – and this has been especially difficult for those in Tāmaki Makaurau.

We want to acknowledge and thank the health workforce at the forefront of the response for their amazing work to get the COVID resurgence under control – knowing the demands and added pressure this has put on the sector who continue to deliver routine care while balancing many immediate priorities.

We know this hasn’t been easy. So, a big thank you for keeping Aotearoa New Zealand safe.

While the COVID response has been the government’s top priority, we know the health reforms are important too so we’ve continued this important mahi.

Hon Andrew Little

We’ve heard the response to the planned reforms has been pretty positive, and that there is a clear need for change. 

We’ve been engaging with the sector and that’s been a great opportunity to discuss with all sorts of stakeholders the shape of the reforms, how the future system will work and how everyone can contribute to making it a success.

This is a real opportunity to seriously fix some of the shortcomings in the current system – in particular, the long-standing equity issues.

We’re making good progress – we’ve announced the interim new organisations – Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority – and have appointed boards to both entities.

The next step will be to pass the legislation, and come the first of July 2022 we expect the new system to be up and running.

Minister Henare and I have been working with the Transition Unit to pull all this together and very soon there will be a series of information sessions with everybody working in the health sector.

Depending on alert levels, some sessions will be delivered either in person or online between October and the end of the year.

That’s a chance to get people more detailed information about what’s happening and to get an idea what the main milestones and timeframes will be between now and July.

The Transition Unit will also run workshops to seek feedback on key aspects of the reform, such as the development of the interim NZ Health Plan.

We know there is a lot of interest in the work to establish ‘locality networks’ because this will play a big role in how we commission primary and community healthcare services in the future so that we bring services closer to home. 

We got some money earlier this year in the budget to trial locality prototypes over the next few months. We need to see what it takes to set up the processes so there is genuine local input from health providers and community representatives into what local health needs are.

Hon Peeni Henare

Engagement with Māori has been absolutely crucial.

Our Hauora Māori team has run a series of hui across the motu supported by the steering group led by Tā Mason Durie to hear the voices of our people.

With the Maori health leadership we will explore the future role and functions of the Iwi Māori Partnership Boards.

Our expectation is that these boards will ensure locality plans are better designed to improve Maori health outcomes for whānau.

There will be more engagements kanohi ki te kanohi to ensure the voice of Maori is heard in the new health legislation.

Hon Andrew Little

We are also working on the health charter – this is about setting expectations and values for the way we want the health system to operate and for everybody in it to know what to expect when it comes to the way they work.

Those values will support the workforce to do its best, which means they’re doing the best for patients.

We’re really excited for what the future holds and the huge opportunities ahead to make sure our health system is sustainable for future generations.

So we encourage you to take the opportunity to engage in the reforms.

There’s a lot of work going on and we know there’s more to do.

We look forward to providing more updates in the future.

No reira tena tatou katoa.

Establishing the interim Māori Health Authority

Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health), Hon Peeni Henare
23 September 2021

Tēnā koutou e ōku rangitira huri noa, kia ora tātou katoa.

This Government is making good progress towards a new health system that will perform better for Māori.

Just five months after this transformational health reform was announced, we have established an interim Māori Health Authority and have appointed an outstanding group of people to serve on the Board.

The Authority will provide an additional opportunity for Māori influence in how our system needs to perform.

Confirming the leadership of Aotearoa’s first Māori Health Authority is a significant milestone. To enable success, it was important for us to get the right people at the helm.

The calibre and capability of the professionals appointed to the Board gives me confidence we can deliver the health equity outcomes Māori so urgently need.

I acknowledge the work of Tā Mason Durie’s steering group that assisted with the appointment process for both boards. The steering group has worked tirelessly through this process – one made more challenging by the significant number of highly qualified people who expressed an interest in this role.

The board, along with the Hauora Māori team within the Transition Unit, will work together with Māori to explore the design of the future system, as well as the role and functions of the Iwi Māori Partnership Boards within this new system.

There has already been a high degree of engagement with Māori through this work – hui with iwi, iwi-Māori partnership boards, hauora providers and others – and I expect this to continue to shape and guide this important mahi.

I encourage you to take up opportunites to be involved. Further information will be available on the new website dedicated to the health reform –

I also want to acknowledge the importance of our Māori health kaimahi. We know that we can achieve great things when we have services designed for Māori, and delivered by Māori. This has been proven through the COVID-19 response in Tāmaki Makaurau where our Māori health workforce has played a crucial role.

The importance of your mahi will only grow as we develop a future health system that truly delivers for all New Zealanders.

The Government’s response to the Review and next steps for reform of the health system

Minister of Health, Hon Andrew Little
20 April 2021

Kia ora everyone, 

Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system is undergoing significant changes to make sure all New Zealanders get the care they need, no matter who they are or where they live. 

Kiwis can be proud of our publicly funded health system – our world-leading COVID-19 response is proof of that. But our strong overall health response disguise some real issues when it comes to access and equity of healthcare in NZ. 

The country deserves a united national health system that allows our dedicated doctors, nurses, and other health workers to provide the best possible care to patients, instead of battling red tape and bureaucracy. 

New Zealanders deserves a system that provide excellent health services that are able to be accessed fairly by all. 

On the back of the Health and Disability System Review, today I’m happy to announce the new shape and structure of Aotearoa’s Health and Disability system.

The people working in our health system do a fantastic job. These changes are about creating a more supportive environment for healthcare professionals and the people they care for.  

The reforms establish a new Crown Entity – Health New Zealand – which will take over the planning and commissioning of services, as well as the functions of the existing 20 District Health Boards to remove duplication and allow for true national planning.  

This means the Ministry of Health can focus on policy, strategy and regulation. The other new body being set up is the Māori Health Authority, that will work in partnership with Health NZ to improve services to better achieve health equity for all New Zealanders. 

This is about getting the best out of our hospitals, and making sure that people get early healthcare so they don’t even need to go to hospital where that can be avoided. 

It’s about greater innovation, and digital options, to bring services closer to home meaning better access for you and your whanau. 

And a new system, based on the many perspectives of our many diverse communities – including Māori, Pacific, disabled and rural voices – meaning services will be designed and delivered in ways that work for different communities. 

This is about building a single national health service that will provide consistent, high-quality health services for everyone across the country. 

Over the coming weeks and months interim versions of Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority will be established to liaise with the health sector and design in detail the new entities and how they’ll work. 

I look forward to engaging with the health sector and all communities in New Zealand about this long overdue transformation so we can build a brighter, healthier future for all New Zealand.

What the changes to the health system will mean for Māori

Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health), Hon Peeni Henare
20 April 2021

Tēnā koutou e ōku rangitira huri noa, kia ora tātou katoa. Māori health outcomes have been inequitable for far too long. Maori statistics are stark, we live in poorer health, we die earlier than other New Zealanders.  

Wai 2575 findings have upheld the need for greater focus on Māori health equity and establishment of a Māori health entity. The new Māori Health Authority will be a gamechanger for our people – giving Maori a strong voice in a new system focused on health of the whole population.

The Authority will be autonomous and able to commission services. It will also have joint decision-making with Health New Zealand to grow kaupapa Māori services and inspire innovation. 

It will give Māori effective leadership and partnership holding the broader system to account with shared responsibility for improving outcomes for Māori in all organisations. 

Māori Health Authority to drive rangatiratanga Māori across our health system, Māori will need to be deeply involved in its design.

Over coming months, this Government will work with rangatira Māori and wide Māori communities on the design of the Māori Health Authority and other features such as how Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards are established, operate, and work with local commissioners in their rohe.

An interim Māori Health Authority will be set up as a departmental agency within the Ministry of Health before the end of 2021.

At the same time, the Government will accelerate developing the locality model of primary and community care in certain areas, some of which will take an approach centred on kaupapa Māori care.

The issues facing Māori will not be solved by a separate system, but being part of a system that delivers high-quality care to everyone equally – these reforms will give Māori a voice in that.

As tangata whenua, our manaakitanga responsibilities ensure we support the provision of equitable services for all, including our Pasifika whānau.

We know Pasifika experience similar health disparities that need to be considered and must be addressed.

Nō reira e ōku rangatira, ka pō, ka ao, ka awatea, ka hare mai te rā.

Last modified: