Mental Health & Addiction Update - 20 January 2022

on 21 January


In this edition:

  • Repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act

  • Refreshing walks in Tamaki Makaurau


Kia ora koutou and happy New Year

Firstly, our thoughts are with everyone in Tonga, and with those who have kāinga and friends in Tonga, following the weekend’s undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami. 

I also want to acknowledge those of you who worked over the Christmas/ New Year period to provide support for those accessing mental health and addiction treatment. Thank you for your commitment and hard work. My hope is that you have a break planned in the coming weeks, as many of your colleagues will have returned from theirs.

Philip Grady Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

Philip Grady
Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

To those of you who enjoyed a break, I hope you have returned rested, recharged and raring to go. 2022 is going to be a big year in health for a number of reasons - including the reforms that will see the transition toward the new structure of Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority.

Just before Christmas, it was announced Riana Manuel has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the Māori Health Authority and Fepulea'i Margie Apa has been appointed as Chief Executive of Health New Zealand. The appointment of these two CEs is a step forward for the reforms and a real reminder change is on the near horizon.

Some of you may know Margie from her time as Chief Executive of Counties Manukau District Health Board. She is well-regarded across the health sector and brings a great mix of sector-facing skills combined with a sound working knowledge of government.

Riana is currently Chief Executive of Hauraki Primary Health Organisation and iwi-based not-for-profit Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki. Riana has a nursing background and has been front and centre in driving COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Hauraki.

COVID-19 will no doubt feature largely in 2022. Omicron is a sobering reminder the pandemic is still raging around the globe and close to home in Australia. If you haven’t had your booster shot yet and you’re eligible - I strongly recommend getting it done as soon as practicably possible. Where appropriate, this is an important message to pass on to our service user community too.

It’s also really important for you and your teams to be talking about how you’ll manage should community transmission occur. What we know is that Omicron is more easily spread than previous variants and from what we have observed in Australia it can quickly infect groups and close down entire workplaces. It is a good time to revisit your Business Continuity Plans and have a discussion about how your workplace would manage in the event of an outbreak. 

Ngā mihi,


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