Health Coalition Aotearoa welcomes new ED

HPF congratulates Jenn Lawless on her appointment as the new Executive Director for Health Coalition Aotearoa.


Ms Lawless, who was the Strategic Campaigns Coordinator at NZ Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) was welcomed into her new role with a moving mihi whakatau hosted by the Cancer Society National Office in Wellington on Tuesday.


A large contingent of her workmates from the NZCTU came to support Ms Lawless’s transition from them to the Health Coalition.


Professor Boyd Swinburn, Chair of the Health Coalition said they very excited to have Ms Lawless on board. “Jenn comes with a very strong background in Parliament, union advocacy, and public health.”


Ms Lawless told HPF she was pleased to take up this leadership role because she had a long-running interest in health equity, health policy, and public health in particular.


“Health is the most fundamental measure of whether a society is fair – does everyone have the ability to lead a good and healthy life, and are we sharing resources in a way that enables that? The answer currently is clearly no!


Ms Lawless said life expectancy, disease burdens and almost any other measure of health shows “we are failing tangata whenua, Pasifika, migrants, those with less wealth and income and the disabled community in particular”.


“Much of this is down to the drivers of health, like healthy food environments, incomes, housing, and prevalence of harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco,” she pointed out.

“While I have an academic background in public health and politics, the first thing I will be doing is meeting with health promoters, academics and NGOs in the public health sector to get a good picture of the big issues facing us collectively. Our greatest resource in the health sector is the knowledge, experience and passion of the people working in it, and I’ll be drawing on this for Health Coalition Aotearoa as we advocate for greater health equity in New Zealand.”