Over half of the country's district health boards take six months or longer to put high risk elderly into rest homes, a new report by the Aged Care Association has revealed.
In Hawke's Bay, it takes 10 months on average for an elderly person to receive much-needed residential care.
Aged Care Association CEO Simon Wallace says, "We're getting these quite large variances between one DHB region and another.
"We've got to do better than that in New Zealand."
The report is based on 300,000 clinical assessments throughout New Zealand over the last three years.
"I would expect to have a good degree of regional variation in the system," health minister David Clark says.
However, aged care providers say there shouldn't be a disparity.
"This is about old people all around the country, no matter where they live, having equal access to care," Mr Wallace says.