Newly graduating doctors are starting their working life with student loan debts of more than $90,000.
A new University of Auckland study shows that the average medical student debt has increased by $20,000 in the last 10 years.
The researchers say while the effects of this level of debt are still uncertain, it could have the potential to force graduates into higher paid careers and away from areas of need.
Medical Students Association president Kieran Bunn said the burden of debt could also put off students from low income backgrounds from choosing to become a doctor.
"This kind of high level of debt is obviously particularly worrying if you don't have the kind of confidence that you'll be able to pay that back and of course people who come from wealthier backgrounds are likely to be more confident that they'll be able to pay back that debt."
Mr Bunn said it was not uncommon for doctors to be more than $100,000 in debt.