New committee established to drive better public health outcomes

Some of the country’s most difficult health issues will be tackled by a newly established public health advisory committee, whose members have now been appointed.

Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall says the new Public Health Advisory Committee will investigate and help address long-term health challenges facing Aotearoa.

“We know from managing the COVID-19 pandemic that strong evidence-based independent advice is crucial in responding to complex health issues,” Dr Verrall said.

“The group will ensure scientific expertise is at the heart of policy making decisions especially as we build a sustainable system capable of delivering health gain and health equity.

“As part of the health reforms we now have a much stronger focus on public health than ever before.

“We set up a new Public Health Agency responsible for public health policy, strategy and intelligence and aligned our once separate 12 public health units to work as one organisation, the National Public Health service.

The committee will be chaired by Kevin Hague, former Chief Executive of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand and former Member of Parliament. Hague brings significant governance experience in the health and wellbeing sector, and expertise on public health and health promotion.

The other expert members are Sir Collin Tukuitonga, Beverly Te Huia, Associate Professor Jason Gurney, Professor Peter Crampton, and Dr Ruth Cunningham.

“I’m delighted that the Public Health Advisory Committee has such a highly regarded and diverse membership,” Dr Verrall said.

“As a government, we’re acutely aware of the fact that improving people’s health requires addressing the determinants of health.

“The committee will play a key role in considering the factors underlying the health of people and communities and prioritise equity-based approaches. I look forward to working with them and receiving their well-considered expert advice.”