United Nations high level meeting on Universal Health Coverage - New Zealand statement

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered by Hon Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, 23 September 2019

Tēnā koutou. Hello to everybody. Thank you for this opportunity to reaffirm Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage. New Zealand believes firmly in the objectives of today’s event: the acceleration of progress towards achieving universal health coverage to build a healthier world for all.

New Zealand welcomes the declaration on Universal Health Coverage adopted today, which acknowledges that all elements of health care are critical, including those related to sexual and reproductive health. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are integral to Universal Health Coverage, and are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sexual and reproductive health services need to be of good quality, readily available, accessible to everyone, and free of stigma, discrimination, coercion and violence. Investing in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services in Universal Health Care is necessary to address the needs of women, girls, adolescents and people in marginalized and vulnerable situations who need these services the most. We understand the value and importance of the ambitious objectives captured in the document and we look forward to working with other Member States to implement the declaration.

We are proud of New Zealand’s strong public health and disability system. However, we have avoidable, unfair and unjust differences in health and wellbeing outcomes for some people, in particular Māori and Pacific peoples. Improving health equity and ensuring the health system delivers for all New Zealanders is a top priority for New Zealand.

We acknowledge that a strong primary health care system is the foundation of Universal Health Coverage. Access to primary, community, maternal and oral health is free for all children in New Zealand.

We’ve also made changes to improve access and choice in primary mental health care, an important component of universal health coverage. Our investment in mental health and addiction has been scaled up in response to recommendations from our Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction that charts a new direction for mental health and addiction in New Zealand. This significant and sustained investment over the next five years spans a range of portfolios, including health, education, corrections, justice and housing.

We acknowledge that while New Zealand is a high income country with a strong health and disability system, we face the same challenges of achieving universal health coverage for all, as in many other countries. This is why it is important that all nations and people work today to find solutions to the common challenges we share, and build a healthier world leaving no one behind.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.


We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. You can find out more information on our Privacy Page.