About 280,000 New Zealanders are waiting for elective surgery - with more than half of those people not even on official waiting lists.

Independent research showed up to 110,000 people were on official waiting lists for surgery. But about 170,000 people were still not on a list, despite being told elective surgery was required.

The research, released this morning, was carried out by TNS NZ, who were commissioned by the Health Funds Association and Private Surgical Hospitals Association.

Roger Styles, chief executive for Health Funds, said there was a big concern in regards to surgery waiting times - which had seen a marked increase in the past few years.


"Of particular concern is the increase observed in overall waiting times, particularly for those who have yet to have their surgery," Mr Styles said.

"These are up by 80 days to an average 304 days, with virtually all of these waiting for public surgery."

The average time it took a person to get from their GP to surgery was 177 days in the public health system and 76 days in private.

Today's figures also reveal that there has been no change in the past three years, with the same number of people - 280,000 Kiwis - waiting for elective surgery in 2013 as well.

The report then showed those on waiting lists had been waiting an average of 224 days.