Paramedics are set to be formally recognised and regulated - in the same way doctors and nurses are.
Health Minister David Clark said the move was long overdue, and aims to "ensure the high professional standard to which they currently work will be maintained and enhanced into the future".
Paramedics have been calling for national registration for more than 25 years.
Registration would mean all paramedics would have to meet set levels of qualifications and training, although paramedics already have to hold a relevant qualification.
"Paramedics are usually the first on the scene when we suffer a medical emergency and they do great work saving thousands of lives each year," Dr Clark said.
"They act independently in assessing, treating, transporting and referring patients."
"Putting a similar level of regulation in place to that for other key health professionals gives assurance that paramedics are appropriately qualified and competent to practise."
In April, St John Ambulance called for the Government to fully fund the service, saying the current level of financing is not sustainable.
St John chief executive Peter Bradley said the Government currently funds 72 per cent of operating costs through the Ministry of Health and ACC. The other 28 per cent comes from ambulance charges and fundraising.
Regulation comes in from January 1, 2020.