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Research team

Pauline Barnett, in association with a national consortium of fifteen researchers led by Health Services Research Centre, Victoria University (Jackie Cumming, Principal Investigator)


The current reforms in the health sector are the fourth restructuring in fifteen years and, for the first time, the reforms are being researched as they happen. This major research project is funded jointly by the Health Research Council and Ministry of Research, Science, and Technology through the Departmental Contestable Research Pool managed by the Ministry of Health, the Treasury and the State Services Commission. The Health Services Research Centre is leading a team of independent researchers from Auckland, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Wellington. The project runs from 2001 to 2004.

The aims of the research are to analyse the new governance, purchasing and accountability relationships which develop under the District Health Board model, and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the model compared with alternative models of health care organisation. The research is intended to be useful, and is in the nature of a formative evaluation of the new structure, where the Research Team will feed back its findings to key stakeholders, including policy-makers, as we go.


Barnett P, Tenbensel T, Cumming J, Clayden C, Ashton T, Pledger M, Burnette M. Implementing new modes of governance in the New Zealand health system: An empirical study. Health Policy 93: 118-27, 2009.

Ashton T, Tenbensel T, Cumming J and Barnett P. Decentralizing resource allocation: early experiences with District Health Boards in New Zealand. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 13(2): 109-15, 2008.

Tenbensel T, Cumming J, Ashton T and Barnett P. Where there's a will, is there a way?: Are New Zealand's publicly funded health services able to steer towards population health? Social Science and Medicine 67: 1143-52, 2008.

Barnett P, Powell M. and Cumming J. Limits of restructuring: reflections on health reform in New Zealand. In: A Casebeer, A Harrison and A Mark (eds) Innovations in Health Care: A Reality Check. Palgrave Macmillan, 65-78, 2006.

Barnett P and Barnett JR. Health reform and the changing provision of health services in New Zealand. In: K Dew and P Davis (eds). Health and Society in New Zealand. 2nd edition. Melbourne, Oxford University Press. 2005.

Cumming J, Barnett P, Perera R and Dowell T. Evaluation of the implementation and intermediate outcomes of the Primary Health Care Strategy: First Report. Overview. Wellington, Health Services Research Centre, Victoria University. 2005.

Cumming J, Barnett P and Powell M. Governance in district health boards in New Zealand: A report on progress. Public Sector 27 (1): 4-9, 2004.

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