The Government is claiming success for its voluntary bonding scheme for health workers, which has been oversubscribed for the second year in a row.
The scheme encourages graduate doctors, nurses and midwives to establish careers in communities and medical specialities where they are needed and to stay in New Zealand.
In return, it offers student loan write-offs or cash incentives for those without student loans, providing they work in these areas for three to five years.
The Health Minister, Tony Ryall says 500 health graduates were accepted this year, bringing to 1400 the number of graduates accepted into the scheme.
The chair of the GP Council of the Medical Association, Dr Mark Peterson, says the scheme is in its early days, but initial figures suggest it is helping the country retain medical staff.
He says rural areas in particular have benefitted from the bonding scheme.