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First steps towards establishing new Health Unit

First steps towards establishing new Health Infrastructure Unit


17 September 2019


The Ministry of Health is taking the first steps towards establishing its new Health Infrastructure Unit which will support and oversee the building of new clinical facilities in New Zealand.

Karl Wilkinson has been appointed to the role of Director of Health Infrastructure within the Health Infrastructure Unit. Helene Carbonatto has also been appointed as acting Group Manager, Capital Investment Management.

“I’m very pleased that Karl and Helene will be taking up two of the key leadership roles in the Ministry’s new Health Infrastructure Unit,” says Michelle Arrowsmith, Deputy Director General, DHB Performance, Support and Infrastructure.

“Karl joins us from engineering, design and advisory company, Aurecon where he was the Health Sector Leader and Mechanical Service Line Leader across New Zealand. He brings considerable infrastructure experience, both in New Zealand and overseas, as well as experience of working on public and private health projects.

“Helene joins us from Hutt Valley DHB where she was the General Manager, Strategy Planning and Outcomes. She has previous experience on capital projects and brings excellent knowledge of health sector planning and strategic thinking.

“Over the coming months, we will be building the capacity and capability of the teams as we establish our new Health Infrastructure Unit.

“It’s an exciting time for health infrastructure in New Zealand, and for the Ministry. The Government is investing more into health capital - $1.7 billion in Budget 2019, building on last year’s $750 million in Budget 2018.

“As a result, there will be a number of projects in the pipeline across the country over the next decade. It’s the start of a long term programme to restore New Zealand’s health infrastructure in our health system, particularly in DHBs.

“The Ministry is also delivering the New Dunedin Hospital project, which will be the largest hospital building project in New Zealand.

“In conjunction with DHBs, we’re developing a National Asset Management Plan to map out the current state of facilities. This will enable the Government to make more informed decisions, and better prioritise remediation work and plans for new facilities.

“It’s challenging but rewarding to be leading this work to deliver important health infrastructure projects. Health infrastructure has a vital role in ensuring New Zealanders have access to high quality services and they get the care they need.”

Budget 2019 provides funding to establish a new Health Infrastructure Unit which will start with these two key appointments and build as the Unit expands over the coming year.

Karl Wilkinson starts at the Ministry on 21 October 2019. Helene Carbonatto took up the role of acting Group Manager last week.

Notes to editors

Karl Wilkinson biography
Karl has a diverse background in design and construction leadership, with a combination of consultancy and contractor experience across buildings and civil infrastructure in New Zealand and overseas.

Karl qualified in engineering from the University of Auckland in 2003 and began his career in the construction industry with international engineering consultant, Beca. While working in New Zealand and Singapore he held various roles in project leadership and business leadership, with a focus in the Health and Education sectors.

In 2018 Karl joined Aurecon, a global engineering, design, and advisory consultant, where he has led their Health sector and Mechanical Service Line across New Zealand.

Helene Carbonatto biography
Helene Carbonatto has been in executive management positions across various DHBs including Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley, Tairawhiti and MidCentral.

Helene has held predominately commissioning roles both locally and nationally. She also has operational management experience having managed public health units, primary care services and Needs Assessment Services Co-ordination (NASC).

Helene has a PhD in Criminology and a Master’s degree in Psychology, and started her career at the Ministry of Justice and DPMC.


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