Event: Health policy making in an era of reform: The New Zealand health system in the 1980s (University of Auckland)

Date: 28 February 2018, 1–6pm

Location: Federation of Graduate Women Suite, Old Government House, University of Aukland, New Zealand


The era of economic reform in the 1980s was also a pivotal moment in the history of New Zealand’s health system. There was a growing sense of the need for change, rethinking and policy innovation.

Focal points of debate were the 1986 Health Benefits Review and the 1988 Gibbs Report ‘Unshackling the Hospitals’ as well as the gradual establishment of area health boards from 1983. Out of this ferment would come the more radical health reforms of the early 1990s.

The aim of this seminar is to capture and record the experience of participants to illuminate key aspects of New Zealand’s health politics of the time. Given the ongoing salience of many of the issues debated at the time, we are concerned to identify factors that accelerated or inhibited major change.

Witnesses will include Michael Bassett, Minister of Health 1984-1987; David Caygill, Minister of Health 1987-1988; Graham Scott, Secretary to the Treasury 1986-1993; Dr Tony Baird, former chairman of the NZMA, and others.

Space is limited but if you are interested in attending, please contact:


Dr Hayley Brown
Centre for History in Public Health
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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