Health Minister David Clark says district health boards' performance will continue to be measured but the results are no longer being published.
Asked again today whether the six National Health Targets had been dropped, Clark told reporters: "We're continuing to measure all of those things that have been measured before because the DHBs answer to the Ministry of Health for their performance.
"The change we've made is that since August 2017 the National Government's performance targets, which were a narrow range, have not been published.
He said a new suite of measures was being developed which would report on progress in service delivery.
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"Clinicians will, of course, continue to do what clinicians do which is deliver good outcomes for patients but they won't have the distortionary influence of targets that are trying to direct DHB resource meeting and puffing up artificial targets," he said.
Clark told the Herald the emergency department target of six hours would be retained at least until any recommendations came back from clinicians who were developing the new measures.
Speaking in Parliament later, Clark confirmed that the decision had not gone to Cabinet yet.
"This matter did not need to go to Cabinet. The data is still being collected but we are no longer spending tens of thousands of dollars publishing it. We're developing new measures to ensure that health dollars are delivering improved health outcomes for New Zealanders. Those measures will be taken to Cabinet in due course," he said.
The National Health Targets in their original form were introduced by the Labour-led government in 2007. Data is collected and up until August last year, information was published on the performance of DHBs in areas such as emergency department waiting times, elective surgery, cancer treatment and child immunisation.