Part of NEAC’s role is to monitor and review the operation of the Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDECs).
In June 2021, NEAC wrote to the Minister of Health to raise concerns on the membership-levels and timeliness of appointments to the HDECs. NEAC advised that it considered a lack of timely appointments to the HDECs fundamentally risked a critical failure in the health and disability research sector, and would impact potential treatment outcomes for New Zealanders.
NEAC asked that the importance of appointing new members to the HDECs and adequate resourcing is addressed by Ministers.
In September 2021, the Minister responded to NEAC. The Minister advised that responsibility for appointments to the HDECs was delegated to Hon Peeni Henare, Associate Minister of Health. The Associate Minister of Health had recently selected candidates for several ethics committees and those appointments would address the committees' gaps in expertise and ensure that they continue to deliver on their core mandate.