Legislation central to fixing the health system has been introduced into Parliament by Health Minister Andrew Little.
“Rebuilding the public health system is critical to laying the foundations for a better future for all New Zealanders,” Andrew Little said.
“We need a system that works for everybody, no matter who you are or where you live.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how critical public health is. This bill gives it the attention and resources it needs.”
The Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill replaces the 20 District Health Boards with a new Crown organisation, Health New Zealand, providing a national health service with a strong focus on primary health care.
The bill also establishes an independent Māori Health Authority that will work in partnership with Health New Zealand.
“For too long the kind of healthcare you receive has depended on where you live and our health system has been about trying to treat people in hospitals for conditions that could have, and should have, been dealt with sooner,” Andrew Little said.
“We need a system that works for everyone, and that is what we are building.”
“These changes will transform Māori health,” Associate Health Minister (Māori Health) Peeni Henare said.
“Experiences with the health system stop many Māori going to the doctor when they should, and that costs lives.
“These changes recognise the role of Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards and that Māori should be able to exercise tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake when it comes to planning and decision-making for health services at a local levels,” Peeni Henare said.
“Giving people a real say in the type of services they have is critical, and the bill provides for communities to come together in locality networks, which can work with Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority to develop services that work for local people,” Andrew Little said.
The legislation also establishes an expanded Public Health Agency within the Ministry of Health to lead public health strategy, as well as an expert advisory committee on public health.
The Ministry of Health will continue to act as the health system’s chief steward, providing policy advice to the Government and regulating and monitoring the way the health system works.
The bill will have full select committee consideration, is expected to be passed next year, and will come into effect on July 1.