Publication of New Zealand Health Survey’s 2018/19 annual results

News article

14 November 2019

The Ministry of Health has today published all results from the 2018/19 New Zealand Health Survey, including the key Tier 1 indicators and about 160 other indicators.

This survey provides information on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and helps the Ministry and others to identify key issues and monitor trends.

Findings have been published on the Annual Data Explorer, an interactive web tool on the Ministry’s website.

The Tier 1 statistics give a picture of New Zealanders’ self-rated health, smoking, past-year drinking, hazardous drinking, obesity and mental health status, as well as information on cost barriers to people accessing GP care and collecting prescriptions.

Other indicators give a more detailed snapshot of the health of New Zealanders. They cover the following broad areas: health status, long-term health conditions, health behaviours and risk factors, health service utilisation and patient experience, barriers to accessing health care, and socio-demographics.

The statistics are based on face-to-face interviews with about 14,000 adults, and the parents or primary caregivers of more than 4,000 children.


Unmet need for GPs due to cost

  • Fewer adults experienced cost as a barrier to visiting a GP compared to last year.
  • 13.4% of adults reported not visiting a GP due to cost in the past year, down from 14.9% in 2017/18.
  • Only 1.8% of children did not visit a GP due to cost in the past year, down from 4.7% in 2011/12.

Unfilled prescription due to cost

  • Fewer adults and children reported not collecting a prescription because of cost in the past year.
  • 2.0% of children had a prescription that was not collected due to cost in the past year, down from 3.0% in 2017/18 and 6.6% in 2011/12.
  • 5.3% of adults reported not collecting a prescription due to cost in the past year, down from 6.6% in 2017/18 and 7.2% in 2011/12.

Current smoking

  • The smoking rate has decreased over time for adults, including for Māori adults.
  • 14.2% of adults were current smokers, down from 18.2% in 2011/12.
  • 34.0% of Māori adults were current smokers, down from 40.2% in 2011/12.

Challenges identified

Self-rated health

  • 86.2% of adults reported their health to be ‘good, very good or excellent’, which continues a trend of decreasing from 87.5% in 2017/18 and 89.3% in 2011/12.
  • 98.2% of parents rated their child’s health as ‘good, very good or excellent’, which has not changed significantly since 2011/12.


  • The prevalence of obesity among adults aged 15+ was 30.9%, which corresponds to an estimated 1.22 million adults. This has increased from 28.6% in 2011/12, but has remained relatively stable since 2012/13.
  • 11.3% of children aged 2–14 years were obese. This rate has not changed significantly since 2011/12, when it was 10.7%.

Psychological distress

  • 8.2% of adults had experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in the four weeks prior to the survey, which is up from 4.5% in 2011/12.

Hazardous drinking

  • One in five adults (20.0%) drank alcohol in a way that could harm themselves or others.
  • 6.3% of those aged 15–17 years engaged in hazardous drinking in the past year.
  • Men were more than twice as likely to be hazardous drinkers than women, after adjusting for age.

Further details on the survey can be found at New Zealand Health Survey.

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