The union representing senior hospital doctors says the safety of hospitals is at risk because of a chronic shortage of medical specialists.
The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists has issued a report saying not enough are being trained or retained to meet the growing demand.
Health Minister Tony Ryall says the union has timed the report to coincide with salary negotiations for senior doctors.
Mr Ryall says this is the first shot in a campaign over pay and there are 1000 more doctors in the public health service than four years ago, both senior and junior.
He says waiting lists for many treatments have improved.
Mr Ryall says the union has timed the report to coincide with salary negotiations.
The association says any improvements have been small and New Zealand is still losing trained specialists overseas.
Labour Party's health spokesperson Maryan Street has accused the Government of ignoring the shortage, saying if the Government does not act the shortage will only get worse.