About the New Zealand public healthcare system
New Zealand’s public healthcare system offers New Zealand residents high-quality healthcare for a low fee or for free. Children under the age of 14 years get free healthcare.
If you need emergency medical help or acute care, you’ll receive it from the public healthcare system.
Accidents and injuries are covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), a government agency which acts as a no-fault personal injury insurer.
Non-emergency health conditions are classified as ‘elective’ treatments. This means you’ll go through an assessment process to find out if you qualify for treatment, and in most cases, you’ll go on a waiting list to receive treatment. This is why some New Zealanders choose to get private health insurance.
Common elective treatments include hip or knee replacements, heart surgery, hysterectomy, cataract removal, cancerous tumour removal and diagnostic services such as endoscopy, laparoscopy, MRI scans, tonsillectomy, and grommets surgery.