The Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is dismissing a union analysis that found the health budget is underfunded, saying it's the work of government critics.
The union analysis said this year's health budget was $215 million short of what was needed to maintain current services for the growing and aging population.
The paper (PDF, 368KB) prepared by the CTU and the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists said it was part of a continuing trend of funding cuts in real terms.
But Dr Coleman said the government's investment in health would reach a record $16.8 billion dollars in the year ahead, making it the government's number one funding priority.
He says that's up $888 million, the largest increase in nine years.
CTU economist Bill Rosenberg has said the 2017 Budget was particularly tough on mental health, which received just 1 percent in additional funding while 7 percent was needed to maintain an under-resourced service.
New Zealand ranked poorly against other countries on measures such as waiting times for elective surgery, specialist appointments and treatment after diagnosis, he said.
The government allocated $224m in additional mental health funding in the budget but most will go to a new fund for a social investment approach to the issue.
Dr Coleman told a select committee last month that funding for the sector had risen by $300m under National to help meet demand.