Senior doctors are claiming the medical workforce could collapse if the Government does not lift pay rates.
A survey by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists has found New Zealand recruits about half of its specialist doctors from overseas, the highest rate in OECD countries.
The survey, released as a fresh round of pay talks begins, also found half of New Zealand's medical registrars leave for Australia in their final year of training.
The association's executive director, Ian Powell, said there is growing evidence the medical workforce is in crisis because Australian pay rates are making it so attractive to move there.
Mr Powell says pay talks with district health boards have started encouragingly but will have to achieve a great deal to solve the problem.