The New Zealand health and disability system’s statutory framework is made up of over 20 pieces of legislation. The most significant are the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, the Health Act 1956, and the Crown Entities Act 2004.
New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
The NZPHD Act establishes the structure underlying public sector funding and the organisation of health and disability services. It establishes district health boards (DHBs), and sets out the duties and roles of key participants, including the Minister of Health, Ministerial committees, and health sector provider organisations.
The NZPHD Act also sets the strategic direction and goals for health and disability services in New Zealand. These include to improve health and disability outcomes for all New Zealanders, to reduce disparities by improving the health of Maori and other population groups, to provide a community voice in personal health, public health, and disability support services and to facilitate access to, and the dissemination of information for, the delivery of health and disability services in New Zealand.
Health and disability strategies
The Minister of Health is responsible for strategies that provide a framework for the system and for reporting on their implementation to Parliament. (In the case of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, this responsibility is shared with the Minister for Disability Issues.)
Four key strategies currently in place are the:
- New Zealand Health Strategy
- New Zealand Disability Strategy (Office for Disability Issues website)
- He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy
- Primary Health Care Strategy.
Health Act 1956
The Health Act sets out the roles and responsibilities of individuals to safeguard public health, including the Minister of Health, the Director of Public Health, and designated officers for public health. It contains provisions for environmental health, infectious diseases, health emergencies, and the national cervical screening programme.
Crown Entities Act 2004
Many of the organisations that provide health services are Crown Entities. The Crown Entities Act provides the fundamental statutory framework for the establishment, governance, and operation of Crown entities. It clarifies accountability relationships and reporting requirements between Crown entities, their board members, responsible Ministers, and the House of Representatives.