Just two days after the Director General of Health tendered his resignation a damning review of the Ministry of Health’s performance has been released by the Minister of Health.

The Performance Improvement Framework Review rating card of the Ministry gave it only one “excellence” rating and eight “weak” ratings for areas such as the ministry’s performance in helping developing a “fiscally sustainably health system”, “leadership and governance” and “engagement with staff” (see full rating list below).

Health Minister David Clark said the review “painted a picture of a Ministry that needed support to provide stronger leadership and governance of the health sector”.  He said report echoed the concerns he had heard ‘time and time again’ from those at the frontline of the health system about a lack of Ministry leadership

“Many of the issues highlighted in this report were also identified in the 2012 PIF Review. It’s clear things were going from bad to worse under the previous Government,” said Clark.

“I want to acknowledge that there are many good people who are doing great work under difficult circumstances at the Ministry. I value their hard work and dedication.”

Clark announced yesterday the urgent establishment of a five-member Ministerial Advisory Group in the wake of the early resignation of the Director-General of Health and Ministry of Health chief executive Chai Chuah announced on Monday.

Clark said the challenge for the Ministry’s new leadership would be to deliver a “strong, stable and high-performing Ministry”.

“The contributions and leadership of the Ministry have been widely valued in decades past, and many of New Zealand’s most respected health sector leaders have spent time in the Ministry. Its time has come again.”

“As Health Minister, I welcome this review and the Government will closely consider its findings. I will also refer the review to the new Ministerial Advisory Group on the Health System, which was set up to focus on exactly these sorts of issues.

“It’s vital the Ministry rebuilds trust and confidence in itself so that it can deliver on the Government’s health priorities, including making primary healthcare more affordable and accessible,” says Dr Clark.

The State Services Commission’s Performance Improvement Framework review began with some preliminary work in 2016 and a full review was carried out this year including interviewing government ministers, many Ministry staff, central agency officials, officials from other social sector agencies, stakeholders and representatives of health professionals and of customers of the New Zealand Health and Disability System.

PIF Review ratings of Ministry of Health’s performance 


  • Fiscally sustainable Health System
  • Implementing the New Zealand Health Strategy
  • Leadership and governance
  • Values, behaviour and culture
  • Operating model
  • Collaboration and partnerships
  • Management of people performance
  • Engagement with staff


  • Meeting the new “vulnerable children” Better Public Service target
  • Meeting government priorities for Canterbury Health system
  • Asset management, information management, financial management and risk management
  • Leadership and workforce development
  • Experiences of the public
  • Implementation of bowel screening programme
  • Social investment policies


  • Meeting the “good start in life” Better Public Service target
  • Engagement with ministers
  • Sector contribution
  • Development of the New Zealand Health Strategy
  • Regulatory stewardship


  • Meeting the increase “infant immunisation and reduce incidence of rheumatic fever” Better Public Service target

NB: The full PIF Review is available here – http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/pif-review-health-dec2017.pdf



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