National Updates

This section is dedicated to providing news items within New Zealand.  This page is interactive and is updated as events happen. If you have a news item or a celebration that you would like us to highlight, please send your write up and pictures to Akatu Marsters on


Health Reforms

Transforming the health system will create a more equitable, accessible, cohesive and people-centred system that will improve the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

  • People-centred: a system that brings together the voice of all communities
  • Equitable: a system that focuses on working in partnership with Māori and honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Accessible: a system that offers more equitable, convenient and integrated access to services for all New Zealanders
  • Cohesive: a national health system that delivers locally, supported by co-ordinated planning and oversight

The Transition Unit publishes a regular newsletter with the latest news and updates about the health system reform – click here to subscribe or visit by clicking here.


MH HauoraNew Resources for Schools to Teach Mental Health & Hauora

The Ministry of Education have recently released a resource designed to help teach mental health and wellbeing in schools, complete with lesson ideas and activities called Mental Health Education and HauoraTeaching interpersonal skills, resilience, and wellbeing. 

The Ministry of Education has partnered with the NZ Health Education Association to deliver hard copies of the book to schools with year 7 students up and the PDF version of the book can be downloaded by other schools.

To find out more, watch Kat Wells, co-author and health education teacher from Lynfield College in Auckland.

Click here to download the Mental Health & Hauora Booklet or here for further resources.


1737 Introduces Peer Support Option


As part of our wellbeing response to COVID-19, we have recently funded a new, free telehealth option for those looking for mental health support from someone who knows.

People calling the team at the National Telehealth Service 1737 need to talk? now have the option of speaking to someone with lived experience of wairangi/mental distress – it’s called Peer Support.

The new option is available by phone between 2pm and 10pm and is in addition to the phone and text support from trained counsellors already available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Due to the impact COVID-19 is having on our lives, some people are experiencing – possibly for the first time – economic and employment distress, anxiety around the uncertainties of the changing COVID environment, alcohol and other drugs issues and relationship challenges.

A trained peer support worker can help normalise experience of distress and when appropriate, share what helped them or suggest actions that might help to support a person experiencing distress make sense of their own situation and make changes that help them recover. Many people find peer support to be an influential factor in their recovery.

During the first month of operation, almost a third of 1737 callers elected to speak to a peer support worker. The Peer Support option will be available for an initial period until the end of February 2021.


Our Call to Action: Implement He Ara Oranga - Mental Health Foundation





Covid-19: Up to half of NZ families now experiencing mental health issues - study


As many as half of New Zealand families say they are experiencing mental health issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report has found.

The report by Panadol has revealed half of New Zealand families have experienced depression, anxiety or stress in recent months.

Psychologist Sara Chatwin told The AM Show women have been hit harder. The report found 28 percent of women felt more stressed or anxious than any other time in their life, compared to 21 percent of men.

Where to find support:


MethFunding boost of $20 million of help tackle meth and addiction in the regions

The government is investing $20 million to reduce the damage methamphetamine use is causing to families and communities in the regions.


The Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, said meth use was killing regional New Zealand.


He said drug users could not sustain a job, which was bad for their whānau, and local employers who needed a reliable workforce.


The Provincial Development Unit is working with police and the Ministry of Health to identify local programmes working on reducing the harm.


Nine community-based providers - in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Tairāwhiti and Otago - will get funding to scale up their programme.


Click here to read article from Radio NZ.


Every Life MattersEvery Life Matters - He Tapu te Oranga

If you haven’t seen it already, click here for the Every Life Matters – He Tapu te Oranga, the 2019-29 Suicide Prevention Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 outlines the framework and strategic direction for how we can work together in a coordinated way to achieve the vision.
  • Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 identifies specific actions that will be undertaken to help achieve the vision, prevent suicide and support people affected by suicide in Aotearoa, New Zealand.


Inquiry ReportHealth & Wellbeing Budget 2019

The Ministry of Health has a stewardship role to transform New Zealand’s mental health and addiction system.  They are leading the work on many of the 13 new Budget 2019 mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives.

Detailed information on the funding provided in Budget 2019 can be found on the Government’s Budget website, including other wellbeing initiatives led by other government agencies.

Many of the Budget 2019 initiatives strongly align with the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga, the report of the independent inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.


Lifting Māori and Pacific peoples’ health outcomes is another important focus of Budget 2019. Funding for this purpose is included in most health initiatives, as well as being a specific focus of others such as the Māori and Pacific workforce development initiatives and culturally-relevant mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives.

Infrastructure and workforce

Strengthening the foundations of the health system – both in terms of investing in health infrastructure and the health workforce – is a strong theme of Budget 2019. Over the next two years an additional $1.7 billion will be invested in health sector capital projects.

Boosting the health and disability workforce is also a focus of Budget 2019, including $24.5 million over four years to fund more graduate registered nurses and graduate enrolled nurses to complete nurse entry to practice programmes. It will also fund more nurse coaches, mentors, supervision and better support for new graduates.

Rural health is getting an additional $18 million over four years to provide more GP training placements in rural and regional areas, and rural locum relief for midwives working in rural settings.

Click here to read more of the initiatives from the Ministry of Health website.