New Public Health services to improve health for all Kiwis

  • Hon Andrew Little
  • Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

The rollout of the new nationwide health system continued today with the launch of the country’s first national public health system to fight disease and promote healthy lives.

The Public Health Agency will lead and co-ordinate population and public health policy, strategy and regulation, while the national Public Health Service will do the work on the ground.

“Having a coordinated national public health system instead of the old fragmented one will help all people to live better, healthier lives for generations to come,” Health Minister Andrew Little said.

“In the past, our public health system lacked coordination and collaboration which made it difficult to focus on the prevention of illness and disease across the country, such as hepatitis, HIV, respiratory illnesses, smoking, healthy eating and substance abuse.”

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said the Government was investing an extra $61 million for establishing the national Public Health Agency and the new National Public Health Service, bringing together the existing 12 public health units into a single organisation.

“Our world-leading response to COVID-19 was underpinned by strong public health evidence and national coordination of public health operations,” Dr Verrall said.

“We’ve learnt through the pandemic that a successful public health response requires collaboration across Government departments with community to weave together relationships and plans.

“Establishing a new national Public Health Agency will ensure these capacities are retained and used to meet future public health challenges.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a system where all New Zealanders have equitable access to basic public health and illness prevention that will enable them to live longer in good health and have the best possible quality of life,” Dr Verrall said.

Dr Verrall planted a flax at the Ministry of Health’s office in Wellington today to mark the start of the new public health system.

Notes for editors:

Budget 2022 invests additional funding of up to $61 million into a new public health operating model

This supports the establishment of the new Public Health Agency (PHA) and a new National Public Health Service (NPHS)

Additional funding of up to $10.8 million is allocated for critical digital and data infrastructure to enable the new National Public Health Service to operate

This harakeke was gifted to the Public Health Agency for the occasion by Te Tohinga Harakeke o Aotearoa – National New Zealand Flax Collection, at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

It’s a tāonga cultivar called Kōhunga, and is unchanged from when it was cultivated by Ngāti Maniapoto to weave kākahu and kete.

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