Doctors are burning out and patients are missing vital early intervention because of a critical shortage of general practitioners, GPs say.
The Royal New Zealand College of GPs says they are already stretched and the problem is set to get worse over the next 10 years.
In busy practices people sometimes had to wait weeks to see a GP, it said.
Speaking at the college's annual conference in Auckland, its medical director Richard Medlicott said that could make their conditions worse - or mean they went to hospital emergency departments instead.
Some GPs are also worried that as the government increases subsidies for low income people, there will not be enough doctors to see them.
The Health Minister, David Clark, said the government was considering increasing the number of trainees it funds.