About us

Health Coalition Aotearoa envisions greater health and equity for all New Zealanders through reduced consumption of harmful products (tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy foods and beverages) and improved determinants of health

We consider this important because:


  • Aotearoa/New Zealand’s disease profile is dominated by the ‘industrial epidemics’ caused by the harmful commodities of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food
  • Unhealthy diets, obesity, tobacco, and alcohol contribute about one third of the overall preventable health loss in Aotearoa/New Zealand, with wide inequities by ethnicity and levels of disadvantage.
  • Many policies recommended by the World Health Organisation as ‘best buys’ to reduce the impact of harmful products (tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy foods and beverages) on health and equity have been only weakly implemented or not implemented at all in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
  • Investment in population prevention of harm from tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food is <1/2% of the national health budget and government prevention infrastructure is weak
  • Strong, collaborative efforts across civil societyCivil society refers to public-good non-government organisations (NGOs), academia, professional organisations, and the public are needed to support government to implement much-needed policies against the powerful opposition of commercial vested interests.

Our mission and goals

To provide a collective voice and expert support for effective policies and actions to reduce the harm from tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods and to reduce inequities through a focus on the determinants of health.

Aligned to our mission, the Coalition has set the following goals:

  • Improvements in the societal determinants of health
  • Control over the commercial determinants of health
  • Strengthened public health infrastructure and funding for prevention
  • Smokefree<5% prevalence of smoking Aotearoa with reduced inequities by 2025
  • Reduced harm and inequities from alcohol consumption
  • Reduced harm and inequities from unhealthy foods and beverages
  • Reduced obesity prevalence and inequities in children and adults

Implementing WHO’s ‘Best Buys’ for preventing chronic disease will save lives and money

Our members

Members of the Health Coalition Aotearoa are non-governmental health and consumer organisations (such as health providers, health charities, medical and health professional organisations) and academic leaders (professors and associate professors with expertise in aspects of health and prevention).

Interim Steering Group

Health Coalition Aotearoa is led by an interim steering group of representatives from nine of our member organisations:

Willemijn de Bruin
(Interim Administrator)
Edgar Diabetes & Obesity Research, University of Otago

Belinda Castles
Consumer NZ

Warren Lindberg

Victoria Mulligan
Fred Hollows Foundation

Professor Boyd Swinburn
(Interim Chair)
The University of Auckland

Expert panels

The Coalition will receive advice from a series of expert panels as follows.


  • Shayne Nahu (Chair) – Cancer Society of New Zealand
  • Mihi Blair – Hāpai Te Hauora Māori Public Health
  • Professor Chris Bullen – The University of Auckland
  • Edward Cowley – Pacific smoking cessation
  • Professor Richard Edwards – University of Otago
  • Professor Janet Hoek – University of Otago
  • Andrew Waa – Aspire/Eru Pomare Māori Health Research Centre
  • Associate Professor Natalie Walker – The University of Auckland
  • Ben Youdan – Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)


  • Professor Sally Casswell (Chair) – Massey University
  • Professor Jennie Connor – University of Otago
  • Dr Nicki Jackson – Alcohol Healthwatch
  • Dr Valerie McGinn – Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) Centre
  • David (Rawiri) Ratu – Ōtara Māori Committee
  • Professor Louise Signal – University of Otago

Food policy

  • Professor Nick Wilson (Chair) – University of Otago
  • Dr Sarah Gerritsen – The University of Auckland
  • Sande Mareroa-Gates – Toi Tangata
  • Dr Lisa Te Morenga – Victoria University Wellington

Public health infrastructure

  • Warren Lindberg (Chair)
  • Professor Peter Adams – The University of Auckland
  • Janell Dymus-Kurei – Hāpai Te Hauora Māori Public Health
  • Dr David Galler – Counties Manukau District Health Board
  • Associate Professor Tim Tenbensel – The University of Auckland
  • Pam Watson – New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine

Health Coalition Aotearoa is supported by its member organisations and academic leaders.