About Health in New Zealand

Our health services, which are largely government-funded, are regarded as some of the best in the OECD.

Essential health services are free or heavily subsidised for New Zealand residents. While patients have to pay for services such as GP, dentist and optometrist appointments, there has been a push by the Ministry of Health to reduces doctors’ fees and prescription charges. The aim is to ensure that every New Zealander receives the best care possible.

Basic structure of New Zealand's health and disability system

The health sector is largely funded by the government.  There are, however, privately funded hospitals and private community-based services.

The Minister of Health is ultimately responsible for the health and disability system in New Zealand.  S/he receives advice from the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for leading and supporting the sector.  District Health Boards (DHBs) take care of the general administration of the health-care system.  There are twenty DHBs in New Zealand.  Each covers a distinct geographical area and is responsible for planning, funding and delivering health services in this region.  These services include primary health care (or community based care), aged care and services for people with disabilities.  Public hospitals are also owned and run by DHBs.

For more information on the services each District Health Board provides, scroll over the regions on the map below. It may help you decide where you want to live in New Zealand or who you want to work for.   Alternatively visit kiwihealthjobs.com to start looking for your new job in New Zealand.


Click here to find out more about the key parts of New Zealand's health and disability system.


Fast Facts

In 2007:

3.38 million people visited a general practitioner (GP) at least once

1.7 million people visited a primary health nurse at least once

493 outbreaks of communicable diseases were investigated

47.6 million prescription items were dispensed

23 million laboratory tests were performed

699,955 hospital discharges for medical and surgical services occurred

92,244 people accessed mental health services

437,584 cervical smears were taken

464,600 free influenza vaccinations were given

87,177 free annual checks for people with diabetes were undertaken

26,160 ‘green’ prescriptions (advice on exercise or nutrition) were dispensed.


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