Ashley Bloomfield stepping down as Director-General of Health in July

Source: 1News

Dr Ashley Bloomfield will step down from his role as Director-General of Health at the end of July.

Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes announced the news in a media release on Tuesday morning.

"At this stage in the Government’s Covid-19 response, and at the beginning of significant changes to the health and disability sector, Dr Bloomfield feels July is a good time to step away and have an extended break," the media release read.

Bloomfield came to public prominence in early 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. He's become a familiar face to Kiwis at press conferences over the past two years - leading Aoteroa's respose to the pandemic.

Hughes said Bloomfield has "worked tirelessly for more than two years to keep New Zealanders safe from coronavirus".

“Dr Bloomfield has demonstrated remarkable resilience and courage in leading the health system’s overall response to Covid-19. That response has saved lives," he said.

“I thank Dr Bloomfield for his commitment to public service, his spirit of service to the community and his exceptional contribution to New Zealand’s Covid-19 response. I know many New Zealanders will also be thankful for the job he has done.

“Dr Bloomfield always wanted to stay until New Zealand was in a good place with coronavirus. That time is now.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took to social media to thank Bloomfield for his "tireless dedication, his focus on people [and] his calm and considered approach as a "true public servant".

"He has been central to our Covid success as a nation, and he’s done it with humour and grace (I’ll keep the details of his sporadic mockery of me to myself!) When we spoke about his decision to move on, he mentioned that he wanted to spend time with his family, and that’s the least we owe him. So kia ora from across the Motu, Dr Bloomfield. We thank you," she wrote.

He signalled with the Commissioner late last year he intended to step down before his term officially ended on June 11, 2023.

The Public Service Commissioner will appoint an acting Director-General before Dr Bloomfield finishes on July 29, 2022.