Working as a locum doctor in New Zealand

By , Melinda McCarthy published on 05/05/2021 locum, Living & Working in New Zealand,

Working independently as a locum doctor in New Zealand? Here's what you need to know.

As a locum doctor, staying on top of all your financial obligations can be tricky. You get a lot of freedom through a flexible work schedule and a healthier work-life balance, but there’s still a lot of admin involved that would otherwise be taken care of by a permanent employer. And the last thing you want is to spend your free time thinking about tax.

You might pay an accountant to make sense of your tax obligations, and while they’ll help you with some of your admin, there are still things that they won’t help you with, things that might cost you a lot of time and money in the long run:

Income tax payment

You might have someone helping you file an income tax return, but it’ll be on you to come up with the money once the tax bill comes – this means you’ll be responsible for making accurate payments, or risk underpaying your tax and being charged later on.

GST payments

Much like income tax payments, you’ll be responsible for making sure you’ve collected and paid the right amount of GST during your GST cycles.

ACC payments

You’ll also need to pay ACC levies, and you’ll therefore be on the hook for any out-of-the-blue ACC bills.


Knowing what you can claim can be a real headache. You’ll need to collect expense receipts throughout the year and hold onto those receipts for 7 years in the event that the IRD wants to audit you.


As an independent worker, you’ll need to nominate a KiwiSaver percentage yourself. As an added bonus, if you contribute up to $1043 to your KiwiSaver a year, the government will match your contributions 1.5x, up to a maximum of $521 – that’s basically free money!

Register a Business?

You don’t actually need to be set up as a registered business to earn independently in New Zealand. You can still be registered for GST and claim expenses, and get professional insurance if required and you'll still get all the benefits of working as a locum.

These are the most common challenges for independent workers, but with the right planning and tools at your disposal, you can be up-to-date and confident on all your obligations, and avoid getting caught out later on.

If you’d rather not worry about any of the above, we suggest you contact our partner Hnry.

Hnry is there to help take care of it all for you, so you can focus on doing what you do best. As a registered tax agent with the IRD, Hnry can handle Income Tax and GST calculations, filings, payments, even expenses and complex tax affairs. No matter your situation, Hnry has got you covered.


If you're looking for a short-term or long-term locum role, you can browse a selection of our locum GP roles here.

Alternatively, contact Angelique and tell her where you'd like to go, and she will help you get there.

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