The future we want

A wide range of people contributed to this strategy. They have shared their ideas and experiences about the challenges facing today’s system, and what a better future system could look like.

The discussions we had in developing this strategy revealed a range of things we need to do differently or better. In many cases, the very process of identifying the problem presented us with potential solutions.

We found many examples of great practice or progress that we could extend across the system.

From the range of information and perspectives people gave us came a relatively consistent view of what a better, more ‘fit for the future’ system could look like. We captured this view as:

All New Zealanders live well, stay well, get well, in a system that is people-powered, provides services closer to home, is designed for value and high performance, and works as one team in a smart system.

The statement ‘All New Zealanders live well, stay well, get well’ is central to this strategy. We intend it to reflect New Zealand’s distinctive health context and population needs.

‘To achieve health and wellbeing throughout [people’s] lives requires a health system that knows and connects with people at every touch point, not just when they are sick or disadvantaged.’
–Industry group

Within this statement, the single word ‘all’ is important. It reflects the need for a fair and responsive health system that improves health outcomes for key groups, including Māori, Pacific peoples and disabled people, who are not currently gaining the same benefits from the health system as other New Zealanders. To improve outcomes for these groups, the health system will need to improve its understanding of different population groups, involve people in designing services and provide a range of services that are appropriate for the people who use them.

‘All New Zealanders live well, stay well, get well’ also highlights wellness as a goal. This acknowledges that people want not just a long life, but also quality of life, so that they are well for as many years of their life as possible.

Culture and values

The previous health strategy, developed in 2000, was built on seven principles. Our discussions indicate that these principles still reflect our values and the expectations New Zealanders have of their health and disability system.

We propose to keep these principles and to add one more that reflects what people told us about the importance of working beyond the boundaries of health services.

Our refreshed principles underpin this strategy. They will also be reflected in work across the system, and in any new strategies or developments.

Aligning behaviours

To make this strategy work, we need to make our behaviours, actions and approaches consistent across the system. We need to put people at the forefront of our thinking and actions. Moving ahead will involve some changes in behaviour, which we can use to identify success, in particular when there is a shift from:

  • treatment to prevention and support for independence
  • a focus on the individual to a wider focus on the family and whānau
  • service-centred delivery to people-centred services
  • competition to trust, cohesion and collaboration
  • working in fragmented health sector silos to taking integrated social responses.

Refreshed guiding principles for the system

  1. Acknowledging the special relationship between Māori and the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi
  2. The best health and wellbeing possible for all New Zealanders throughout their lives
  3. An improvement in health status of those currently disadvantaged
  4. Collaborative health promotion, rehabilitation and disease and injury prevention by all sectors
  5. Timely and equitable access for all New Zealanders to a comprehensive range of health and disability services, regardless of ability to pay
  6. A high-performing system in which people have confidence
  7. Active partnership with people and communities at all levels
  8. Thinking beyond narrow definitions of health and collaborating with others to achieve wellbeing
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