Prime Minister Chris Hipkins hits back as Rob Campbell criticises Government's health reforms

The Prime Minister has hit back at ousted Te Whatu Ora chair Rob Campbell after he publicly slammed New Zealand's health reforms.

Campbell said the new health system is in a "crisis situation" and hasn't made enough change in an interview with AM on Tuesday.

It comes after he said the new national health service is staffed with too many managers who are indecisive or inadequate during a speech on Monday night.

But Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has retaliated, saying Campbell was the one spearheading the reforms until he was sacked a few weeks ago.

"Rob Campbell was the person leading that reform programme, now we've got to put somebody else in place - we're working through that process at the moment who is going to make sure the health reforms deliver the benefits that New Zealanders deserve to see," Hipkins told AM, appearing after Campbell.

Hipkins also hit back at Campbell's claims of inadequate and indecisive managers, saying "that was his domain rather than mine" up until his sacking.

Decisions around Te Whatu Ora's management team structure were down to Campbell himself and not the Government, Hipkins said.

"We're in the process of appointing somebody who will now see through the reform programme," Hipkins said. "There was no significant policy disagreement with Rob Campbell that resulted in him no longer being the chair of Te Whatu Ora."

Health Minister Ayesha Verrall had sacked Campbell for making political statements, which is against the rules for public servants. 

Rob Campbell.
Rob Campbell. Photo credit: AM

Hipkins argued the Government's health reforms were in their early stages and were "a very big undertaking".

The reforms would take some time to work through, he said.

"The old system wasn't sustainable either and reform was required," Hipkins told AM host Ryan Bridge.

"We're still relatively early on in the piece of a major reform program for the health system and there's still a lot of work to be done. The health system isn't where we need it to be and so we are uptaking reform because the old system wasn't working - the new system's got a lot of work to do to make sure it does deliver on the improvements that New Zealanders deserve to see.

"If you take 20 district health boards, each with their management teams - each with their own systems and processes in place, you put them together and you try [to] streamline that - that is going to be a very big undertaking and it's going to take some time to work through that. Has that work been completed? No, not even close to being completed."