On 30 June 2016, the Ministry of Health published the new Conflict of Interest Guidelines for District Health Boards(DHBs). All DHBs must comply with conflict of interest requirements set out in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 and the Crown Entities Act 2004. The guidelines are intended to assist DHBs to comply with those obligations, and to meet good practice governance expectations.
The guidelines acknowledge that "the New Zealand health and disability sector is an inherently close community, where people with specialist skills and knowledge are in high demand". However, the guidelines emphasise that conflicts are not a cause for concern if they are recognised, disclosed and managed appropriately.
DHBs may find some of the examples given in the guidelines about managing conflicts of particular use. For example, the guidelines list different ways that a DHB might respond to a disclosure of a conflict, which range from deciding that a situation does not amount to a conflict to imposing additional oversight on the conflicted member, excluding the member from parts of a meeting, reassigning the member's tasks or restricting access to confidential information, or bringing the conflict to the Minister's attention.