Health Minister Dr David Clark has appointed Ngāti Kuri Trust Board chairman Harry Burkhardt to chair the Northland DHB, saying his proven leadership and governance skills would serve the people of Northland well.

Mr Burkhardt, one of four ministerial appointments, succeeds former Far North District councillor Sally Macauley, re-elected to the board in October. He is one of 14 new chairmen appointed, only six incumbents granted a further term.

Other Northland appointees are Ngaire Rae, as deputy chair, Pou Herenga, Nicole Anderson, and Dr Mataroria Lyndon.

"District health boards play a vital role, delivering health care to New Zealanders. It's critical that they are well led and well governed," Dr Clark said. "I am particularly pleased that in Northland we have appointed three Māori to the DHB. We all know that Māori have poorer health outcomes, and if we are to turn that around it is vital that we have Māori serving in leadership and governance roles throughout our health service.

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"DHB governance requires leadership, focus, a strong skillset and a commitment to delivering high-quality care for all New Zealanders," he said. "I expect the new boards to deliver on the government's clear expectations, in particular robust financial management, improved services and good management of capital infrastructure."

While there was a range of ongoing challenging issues in health, timely access to services remained a key priority. Meaningful improvement was required in access to first specialist assessments, surgery and radiology, so people received the care they needed.

"To help them succeed, board chairs and members will be supported by an improved induction and development programme. This will ensure boards have the support they need to provide strong governance and leadership," he said.

I want to thank Sally Macauley for her undoubted commitment to the people of Northland during her time as chair. Her continuing involvement as a board member will provide valuable continuity.