20 Dec 2022

Ashley Bloomfield 'really excited' to begin new role at University of Auckland

11:51 am on 20 December 2022
Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Former director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The former director-general of health is "adamant" he doesn't want Covid for Christmas and has encouraged people to take safety measures as the virus ramps up in the community.

His comments come as he spoke to Morning Report about his new job after he stepped down from his role at the Ministry of Health earlier this year.

In the last week, there have been 42,740 new cases of Covid-19 and 64 deaths.

In late January, Dr Ashley Bloomfield will join the University of Auckland as a professor, working in the School of Population Health, chairing a new Public Policy Impact unit.

Bloomfield said he was "really excited" to be doing something "quite different" from the role he had in public health.

The University of Auckland was where he did his medical and public health degrees, he said.

"I'm looking forward, not just to rejoin colleagues in the population health school, but also helping to establish the public policy impact unit which is actually a planned university initiative," Bloomfield said.

"[It's about] getting to the heart of how we can strengthen the links between the research and science that is done there at the university and getting that into the public policy process and decision making in a way where it's useful for decision-makers."

Bloomfield said Covid was a "great example" of how research could help the government make decisions - and quickly.

He said researchers ultimately want their research to be influential to decisions made through the public policy process - and his job would be to help facilitate that.

Ashley Bloomfield will be working in the School of Population Health. Photo:

The initiative had been in the works by the university for some time, Bloomfield said, but the pandemic had delayed it.

Once he had announced he was stepping down, the university approached him - believing he would be a good fit for the job.

Bloomfield said he had discussions with the university and decided it may be somewhere he could make a "real contribution".

He said he would not be relocating to Auckland for the job as being in Wellington near decision makers was the best place for him to be. He would commute at times - but a lot of the job would be done remotely.

Bloomfield told Morning Report it had been nice to step away from the Covid-19 response - but he was still keeping an eyes on things and was following the recent surge in cases.

He said it was lucky that it was summer and encouraged people to get outside and wear a mask when indoors as he had been doing recently.

"I'm adamant I don't want Covid for Christmas."

Bloomfield encouraged people to "crack on" with safety measures for the next few weeks until the surge in cases reduced again.

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