Assessing the Design and Capability of Our Public Health System in a Covid and Post-Covid New Zealand


  • Peter Crampton
  • Don Matheson
  • Maria Cotter



public health, capability, New Zealand, health system, Covid-19


New Zealand’s public health response to Covid-19, while effective thus far, has raised questions about our country’s public health capability and capacity, our ability to respond to public health challenges, and our ability to protect Mäori communities from bearing the brunt of inequitable outcomes. The aims of this article are to identify and discuss some of the challenges that face New Zealand’s state-mandated public health institutions, and to explore critera for assessing the capability of these institutions. There is no universal standard approach to the design of public health institutions, systems and structures; a variety of different configurations would work in any context and their effectiveness is strongly influenced by national history, and the prevailing policy and political culture. In order to assess the ability of our public health institutions to effectively respond to a diverse array of challenges, we propose a capability framework consisting of ten key elements.


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