People are calling 111 to complain about noise and parking issues, clogging the emergency line and leaving people who may be in danger on hold.
Only around 20 per cent of calls to 111 result in an emergency response, according to a statement from police.
Between November 21 - 27 police received 19,725 calls to 111, the highest number since records began in 2003. During November, 111 calls exceeded 77,000, the most of any month this year.
With the summer demand period now starting, police are asking the public to help by keeping 111 for genuine emergencies only.
But they say don't hesitate to call 111 if someone is badly injured or in danger, there's a serious risk to life or property, a crime is being committed and the offenders are still there or have just left, or you've come across a major public inconvenience, such as trees blocking a highway.
Wait times may be longer than usual for those calling 111, police said in a statement.
"During periods of high demand callers will hear a pre-recorded message that asks them to remain on the line.
"Police urge people who are experiencing a genuine emergency to wait for their call to be answered.
"If you disconnect and try to call again you will go to the back of the queue."
Examples of non-emergency calls police receive include reports of historic crimes, noise and parking complaints. Frivolous calls in the past include a 2010 case when a woman called police after her husband did not use air freshener in the toilet.
National communication centre manager Superintendent Dave Trappit said it was important to remember that while staff are answering those calls, there could be people waiting in line who are in danger or need urgent help.
"We know that in a genuine emergency it is an anxious wait for your call to be answered and a delay can exacerbate the situation, so police are taking a number of steps to manage this," Trappit said.
"We are recruiting extra staff, with 45 new communicators currently in training who will be qualified before Christmas, seconding staff from other parts of the business, and taking more immediate steps to make call takers available."
During high demand times staff may be moved from the *555 and crime reporting lines to answer 111 calls, he said.
IF IT'S NOT AN EMERGENCY
• Call *555 for urgent but non-life threatening road incidents
• Fill out a Community Roadwatch form to report unsafe or risky driving behaviour
• Go to our local police station - you can find the closest station here
• The Mental Health Support Line is available 24/7 (text or call) on 1737 or at www.1737.org.nz