New Zealand has registered the largest-ever annual increase in the number of people receiving elective surgery in 2008–09, the government said.

There was an increase of nearly 12,000 patients receiving elective procedures, with a total of almost 130,000 discharges recorded in 2008–09.

The increase was recorded in the six months from January to June and for the first time the number of discharges in the second half of the year surpassed the number in the first half.

The average caseweight, which measures the complexity of procedures, remained the same as in the previous year, the government said.