Meet the new Director General of New Zealand Health

23 May 2018

On Tuesday this week the Deputy State Services Commissioner announced the appointment of Dr Ashley Bloomfield as the new Director-General of Health and Chief Executive, Ministry of Health.

“The Director-General of Health is a pivotal role leading a sector critical to the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders,” Deputy State Services Commissioner Debbie Power said.

“I am very pleased to appoint Dr Bloomfield to this role. He is a highly respected leader in the health sector who brings with him a breadth of experience and a real passion for public healthcare.” 

HG’s CE, Paul Ingle said “From a highly experience international field, we could not be happier for Dr Ashley Bloomfield. It was an honour to lead the search on behalf of the New Zealand State Service’s Commission”

Dr Bloomfield has 12 years’ experience in leadership roles at the Ministry of Health where he worked closely with other leaders and groups in the health sector. He is currently the Chief Executive at Capital and Coast District Health Board (DHB), on secondment from his substantive role as Chief Executive at Hutt Valley DHB. He has held the role at Hutt Valley DHB since October 2015, and has been seconded to Capital and Coast DHB since January 2018.

The Ministry of Health is the Government’s chief advisor on health and disability matters and seeks to improve, promote and protect the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. The Director-General of Health leads a sizeable department, administers a complex set of regulatory functions and oversees a public health budget of more than $18 billion across a workforce of more than 65,000.

Dr Bloomfield has worked at every level of the health sector.  He trained in medicine and has worked in public hospitals, as part of clinical teams, and in primary care before specialising in public health, health policy and health services leadership.

“Dr Bloomfield has a deep understanding of the New Zealand health system and has considerable experience internationally, having worked for the World Health Organisation (WHO),” said Ms Power. “His strong relationships across the sector will help him to hit the ground running and lead the Ministry and the sector at pace.”

The role of Director-General of Health became vacant on 2 February 2018, following Mr Chai Chuah’s resignation from the position ahead of his term expiring on 23 March 2020. Mr Stephen McKernan QSO was appointed Acting Director-General of Health until a substantive appointment to the role could be made.

Dr Bloomfield has been appointed for a five-year term, effective from 11 June 2018.


Prior to becoming Chief Executive at the Hutt Valley DHB, Dr Bloomfield held several senior leadership roles within the Ministry of Health, including, in 2012, Acting Deputy Director-General, Sector Capability and Implementation. From 2012-15 he was Director of Service, Integration and Development and General Manager Population Health at Capital & Coast, Hutt and Wairarapa District Health Boards.

From 1999-2008 he was a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine. Since 2008 he has been a Fellow of the NZ College of Public Health Medicine. In 2010-2011 he was Partnerships Adviser, Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva.

Dr Bloomfield obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Auckland in 1990.