An Equitable Wellbeing Future for All

31 May 2021

I feel deeply honoured to even be able to write this let alone get my head around the fact my team and I have the privilege of working in partnership with exceptional people, who I have admired for a very long time, to bring it to life.

In 2018 the New Zealand Government commissioned the Health and Disability System Review/Hauora Manaaki Ki Aotearoa Whānui to identify how to strengthen the health and disability system to ensure every New Zealander can access the right care at the right time.

In response to the reviews findings the Minister of Health the Honorable Andrew Little confirmed the government’s decision to embark on a once in a generational health and disability system reform to achieve an equitable wellbeing future for all.

At a whole of system level there are four major changes that will help steward the reform agenda and in particular this includes the creation of two significant new organisations, the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand.

Their purpose is to ensure the new system provides consistent, high-quality health services for everyone, particularly for Māori and groups who have been traditionally underserved and have poorer health outcomes than other New Zealanders.

The size and scale of Health New Zealand will be significant and it will have substantial commissioning as well as delivery responsibilities.  It will be the largest Crown Entity in the public sector. At a high level, Health New Zealand will have a workforce of approximately 70,000 staff working across New Zealand’s public hospitals, community and primary care services, and the wider public health and disability system. It will oversee approximately $20 billion in annual operational expenditure and manage $10 billion in assets.

The Māori Health Authority will be a ground-breaking organisation designed to give Māori a vehicle to shape health outcomes for Māori and to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It will embody partnership in its contribution to the New Zealand public health and disability system, both collaborating with Health New Zealand and the Ministry of Health and acting as an agent for tino rangatiratanga, with joint accountabilities to the Crown and Māori.

In doing so it will both act as a policy and strategy agency, providing advice alongside the Ministry of Health, and as a commissioner of care across the health and disability system. The Authority’s final budget and workforce are yet to be determined but will represent a sizeable part of the health and disability system with co-commissioning responsibilities over most services. It will start with a workforce of approximately 200 people and oversee an initial annual operational expenditure of $100 million ramping up significantly over time.

The Minister of Health is now calling for nominations for the interim Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand Boards and the appointment process is being stewarded by the Health Reform Transition Unit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, supported by the Ministry of Health.

A Steering Group selected and led by Sir Mason Durie has agreed a Māori centred process to identify and shortlist nominees for the interim Māori Health Authority board.

In addition to facilitating this process the Steering Group will also provide advice and oversight to the appointment of all candidates, including Maori candidates, to the interim Health New Zealand Board.

The HardyGroup and Atahaia Consulting, Aotearoa New Zealand’s first and highly regarded Maori specific recruitment agency, are working in partnership to support the appointment process across both Boards.

To play a small part in what is most certainly a once in a generational opportunity to transform Aotearoa New Zealand’s health and disability system and achieve an equitable wellbeing future for all, is truly humbling.

Perhaps that is something you see yourself playing a part in too….

Interim Boards for the Māori Health Authority & Health New Zealand