Pinnacle responds to launch of Te Pae Tata – the Interim New Zealand Health Plan

28 October 2022

Te Pae Tata was launched by the health minister in Taupō last week. It is the first New Zealand Health Plan published under the new Pae Ora legislation.

 “I’ve had a chance to read it through, but obviously need to go back and really climb into the detail with the board and leadership team. My first impression is the right ingredients are all present and there are no curve balls” says Justin Butcher, chief executive.

Te Pae Tata sets out the first two years of action for Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, describing three major system shifts: unified, smarter and sustainable.

“Moving towards a more unified health system, with a simplified and nationally consistent approach is definitely a great leap forward for our network. Given our geography, we expect to see this remove some of the heartache our clinicians have experienced with the previous district health board boundaries and related service availability and eligibility,” says Justin.

“It will also reduce some of the duplication of effort – we’d often find ourselves with four ‘same, same but different’ contracts for essentially one service under the previous health system.”

Pinnacle has the largest rural primary care network nationally, making rural health and rural communities central to our work.

“Our rural communities are served by outstanding clinical teams who give it their absolute all, but access and outcomes still differ and the way our rural practices have to operate is ultimately unsustainable.

"It is good to see a range of initiatives in this interim plan that will hopefully begin to turn around the workforce and health outcome trends we see across rural New Zealand, but we feel this plan could have gone a bit deeper on rural issues, particularly in the chapter on priority populations.”

Along with the three system shifts, Te Pae Tata outlines five priority areas for health service delivery:

  1. pae ora - better health and wellbeing in our communities
  2. kahu taurima - maternity and the early years
  3. mate pukupuku - people with cancer
  4. māuiuitanga taumaha - people living with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions, stroke and gout
  5. oranga hinengaro - people living with mental distress, illness and addictions.

“Our Pinnacle strategy has a focus on these priority areas already, so there’s great alignment with the plans and aspirations we have and what is coming from the centre,” says Justin.

Obviously, the unmissable feature of Te Pae Tata is the deep commitment to health equity and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

With approximately a 20 per cent Māori patient population, Pinnacle has committed to becoming a bi-cultural organisation. This includes ensuring all elements of our work programmes are developed in accordance with the Te Tiriti o Waitangi and in partnership with Māori and local iwi.

We have Māori leadership at all levels of our organisation; from the Pinnacle Incorporated and Trust Boards through to our workforce out in local communities. We’re also actively increasing our Māori workforce in order to foster kawa whakaruruhau in all that we do.

“We began thinking and working differently a few years ago, but we’ll be the first to admit we’ve taken our first early steps on a long road,” comments Justin.

“Reading Te Pae Tata affirms we were very much on the right track. We’ll refine our strategy as we work through the finer details of the interim health plan, but we don’t see a need to heavily pivot from what we planned to do in the coming years.”

Te Pae Tata can be read at