Last week as we commemorated Anzac Day and remembered the sacrifice given to our nation by those who served in the two great wars and other conflicts around the globe, we find ourselves still in the midst of a global pandemic.
The number of daily deaths have risen sharply this week in India and travel between New Zealand and Western Australia paused, so we must remind ourselves that the team of five million still needs to remain vigilant to ensure the safety and continued health of our nation.
Recently, I met with new CEO of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Pete Chandler and newly appointed Chair Sharon Shea to discuss the health system in the BOP prior to Minister Little’s announcement of reforms. These reforms to the health system will make healthcare accessible for all New Zealanders and they include the following;
- All DHBs will be replaced by one national organisation, Health New Zealand
- A new Māori Health Authority will have the power to commission health services, monitor the state of Māori health and develop policy
- A New Public Health Agency will be created
- Strengthened Ministry of Health will monitor performance and advise Government
Minister Mahuta also announced an independent review of local government which will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future.
Minister Mahuta asked the review panel to consider what local government does, how it does it, and how it pays for it. They will also explore what local government’s future looks like, including:
- roles, functions and partnerships
- representation and governance
- funding and financing.
Cabinet confirmed Jim Palmer as Chair, John Ombler QSO, Gael Surgenor, Penny Hulse and the Bay of Plenty’s Antoine Coffin to the review panel.
They are expected to report their findings to the Minister in April 2023.