Health and Disability System Review - Plain English

Closed 31 May 2019

Opened 1 Jan 2019


Kia ora, Talofa Lava, Kia Orana, Malo e lelei, Ni sa bula vinaka, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Malo ni, Tena koutou katoa, Greetings.

Our country’s health and disability system needs to work for all New Zealanders, and in many ways, it is – overall, New Zealanders are living longer and healthier lives. But it could be better.

We have a clear and useful vision of what our health and disability system should look like. The New Zealand Health Strategy describes this vision as:

“All New Zealanders live well, stay well, get well

The New Zealand Disability Strategy also explains the vision. It sees New Zealand as:

‘... a non-disabling society – a place where disabled people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations, and all New Zealand works together to make this happen’

However, at the moment, there are still big differences in the level of health of different people in different communities around our country. People should use our health services to help them stay well, but many people are not getting help until they are really sick. This is especially true for:

  • Māori

  • Pacific peoples

  • people on low incomes.

Also, all around the world, there are big changes happening in technologies and the ways people live their lives. And these changes are happening fast! Our health and disability system will need to work differently in order to keep working well for New Zealanders in the future.

We want to review our current health and disability system and make changes that will improve it. We have set up the Health and Disability System Review Panel to do this. One of the main things the review panel is looking at is how to make health and wellness equal for all New Zealanders, particularly Māori, Pacific peoples and people on low incomes.

We welcome your ideas on how we can improve New Zealand’s health and disability system.

How can you add your ideas to the review?

We want you to tell us your ideas for changes that could improve our health and disability system. We want to make changes that will work over the next 5 to 10 years. The changes should aim to help lots of different communities and organisations in the health and disability system.

You will have two chances to send us your ideas.

  • Phase 1 (January to May 2019) 

    Your feedback in this phase can help the review panel understand how our health and disability system is working now. You can also help identify the most important changes that need to happen to make the system work better and more fairly for everyone in New Zealand. Once the review panel has completed its research and studied all the suggested changes, it will prepare a report of its findings.

  • Phase 2 (August to November 2019)  

    The first draft of the review panel’s report is due to be completed in August this year. You can read a copy of the draft report. Then you can give your feedback on that report to help the review panel make it even better.

Phase 1

In phase 1, you can send in a submission to a review panel with your ideas for changes that we could make to the health and disability system. This is one way you can provide your ideas. The panel will also meet with a wide range of provider, consumer and other groups. These meetings will help the panel learn about all the problems faced by people from different communities and organisations in our health and disability system.

We will also arrange a series of workshops throughout the year. People taking part in the workshops will discuss the problems that different communities face with our health and disability system. The workshops will encourage people who have different views and experiences to work together to come up with possible solutions to those problems.

Reference documents

The following documents might help you think about what feedback you want to give.

Terms of Reference: Review of New Zealand Health and Disability System 

New Zealand Health Strategy 2016

New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016–2026

Achieving Equity in Health Outcomes

If you have any questions regarding the online survey you are welcome to email us at

Available from early February:    

Let us know what you think in