Bloomfield's last message to Kiwis is to 'look after each other'

July 29, 2022

Outgoing Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has a final message for Kiwis as he steps away from his role.

Bloomfield has been at the helm of the Covid-19 response since the start of the pandemic and has played a major role in guiding the Government's decisions around the fight against the virus.

On Friday he thanked New Zealanders "for all the hard work you've put in over the past two-and-a-half years.

"We've been successful because we did it as a team," he said on the Ministry of Health's Twitter feed.

"But don't let up now, keep up the great work. We are not, as I say, out of the woods yet but we can always see a path through the woods.

"We have forged our own path, let's keep doing it. Keep up the great work, look after each other - kia ora."

Speaking to Breakfast on Thursday, Bloomfield said he's looking forward to a holiday and the chance to decompress, but his exit wouldn't be without its "bittersweet moments".

"I work with fantastic people and that's the hardest bit about leaving the role," he admitted.

"I'm kind of not looking forward to leaving the building for the last time, but certainly looking forward to a break."

READ MORE: Bloomfield signs out as Director-General to standing ovation

Asked what had been his smartest decision and New Zealand's "best shot" of getting this far in the pandemic, Bloomfield said the nationwide lockdown in 2020 and the elimination strategy.

He remarked the country had set out to bend the curve, but had crushed it instead.

"Those very tough decisions early on to go for an elimination approach were absolutely the right thing to do."

Bloomfield said he was most proud of the vaccination programme, with 95% of the eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated.

"Of course I played a part in that, but it was the sum of an enormous amount of effort by providers, by families, by communities.

"As a country, the fact that we achieved that really high level of vaccination was an incredible achievement and unparalleled in the country's history, really, and one of the best results around the world."