New Zealand spends approximately 9.3% of GDP on healthcare with a particular growing elderly age bracket, it is predicted that this will grow in the future.
Healthcare and Medical sector in New Zealand
New Zealand is a large user of healthcare and medical devices. New Zealand spends
approximately 9.3% of GDP on healthcare with a particular growing elderly age bracket, it is
predicted that this will grow in the future.
The New Zealand healthcare industry employs over 5,000 people in 400 companies. The New
Zealand health care system is made up of both private and public sector services. Public sector is
funded mainly by government and ACC organisations with private sector funded by private
insurance or private companies.
The market has a turnover of approximately $1billion with health spend coming to 9.3% of GDP.
Of this 75% was spent in the public sector.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) in New Zealand has a budget of NZ$13.983 billion for District
Health Board’s (DHB’s) provision of healthcare in New Zealand. This is split between the 21
DHB’s. The Ministry of Health has a number of clear targets around provision of healthcare with
these focusing on; improved access to elective surgery, shorter waits for cancer treatment,
increased immunisation, and better help for smokers quitting, and more heart and diabetes
Purchasing of healthcare and medical devices for the public hospitals is administered by Health
Benefits, a crown owned company. The organisation has a target to save NZ$700 million in 5
years of its operation. Health Alliance is the second largest DHB procurement company
providing for 36% of New Zealand’s DHB population.
District Health Boards (DHB) provide, or fund the provision of, Government funded health care
in New Zealand. They provide personal health services, disability support for older people (65+)
and some additional services. New Zealand is divided into 21 geographic areas each with its own
DHB with some having sizes of 400,000 people. Funding is allocated by population-weighted
DHB’s in New Zealand are significant purchasers of goods and services with annual non-payroll
expenditure for Provider arms of approximately $2 billion. Auckland DHB operates on an annual
budget of around $800m while Waiarapa DHB will operate on around $45m which shows the
comparison between populations. Most DHB’s are now using a centralised procurement system
that is administered by Health Alliance. This has been rolled out nationwide with Auckland DHB
currently using the system. It is designed to streamline procurement for all DHB’s.
Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) are the local level structures that DHBs use to implement
the Primary Health Care Strategy. PHOs have been delivering and co-ordinating primary health
care services since 2002. Approximately 95% of New Zealand’s population are currently
voluntarily enrolled in one of the country’s 81 PHOs.
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) administers New Zealand’s accident
compensation scheme, which provides personal injury cover for all New Zealand citizens,
residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand. In return people do not have the right to sue for
personal injury, other than for exemplary damages.
There are a number of local small to medium size businesses that have niche products in the New
Zealand market. This includes Fisher and Paykel Healthcare along with a number of other
distributors and manufacturers. There are a number of distributors that operate in NZ selling
large and small brands of healthcare and medical devices with imports representing 95% of the
market demand. This is the most popular route to enter the New Zealand healthcare and medial
New Zealand has a large number of health and medical product distributors that provide
distribution of products throughout the country. The company’s focus on various areas of the
industry, including pharmaceutical, hospital, post operative care, rest homes, and paediatric care.
Products are sourced from a range of countries with UK products being favoured because of their
quality, value additions and proven ability.
New Zealand has a high rate of accidents, falls, and injuries in the workplace. In 2007/08 1,600
New Zealander’s died as the result of an injury with ACC receiving 1.8 million claims totalling
$2.4 billion from injuries. This provides an opportunity for the introduction of education
resources, safety devices, and medical devices to assist with the prevention and rehabilitation of
injuries with particular focus on sporting injuries, work place injuries and falls which are the
predominant cause of injury.
New Zealand does have an aging population. Currently 16% of the population is currently aged
over 60 but by 2051 this will increase to just over 31 percent. This will result in an increase in
the need for healthcare and medical services and devices. Orthotics, physiotherapy, orthopaedic,
aged care, and mobility assistance products will be the major opportunities. Muscular-skeletal
operations alone will increase by over 30% during the next 50 years and hip replacements will
double to 10,000 per year by 2051. This shows that there will be an increased need for more
expenditure in the health sector and availability of specialist healthcare and medical devices for
the care of this age group.
Latest export opportunities in the Healthcare and Medical
Latest export opportunities in New Zealand
Getting into the market
There are a number of local distributors who provide products from overseas for hospitals,
medical clinics, pharmacies and doctors. It is estimated that over 95% of NZ’s healthcare and
medical devices are imported. This shows that there are further opportunities in the sector,
including for distributors that are excellent operators.
The Medicines Act 1981 is the main act that regulates the supply of medical devices in New
Zealand. Other Acts and Regulations may also need to be complied with. It is the supplier's
responsibility to ensure that its products comply with all applicable legislation. New Zealand has
a number of regulations and acts to assist with the compliance and safety of medical devices and
healthcare services in New Zealand. These mainly regulate the use of human tissue, new
organisms, employment safety, and hazardous substances.
UK Trade & Investment OMIS services can assist in the identification of regulations and
standards for medical devices and technologies and provide information on how to go about
More about doing business in New Zealand
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits through our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Paul Tuckley, British Consulate-General Auckland. Tel: +64 (0) 9 303 5017 or email:
ξ Hamish Jenkin, British Consulate-General Auckland. Tel: +64 (0) 9 303 5014 or email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in the Healthcare and Medical
NZBIO 2013 Annual Conference
Dates: March 2013
IMSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting 2012
Dates: 20 Sep 2012 - 22 Sep 2012
New Zealand Sterile Services Association 2012 Conference
Dates: 21 Nov 2012 - 23 Nov 2012
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters