ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION Multimorbidity, the co-existence of two or more long-term conditions, is associated with poor quality of life, high health care costs and contributes to ethnic health inequality in New Zealand (NZ). Health care delivery remains largely focused on management of single diseases, creating major challenges for patients and clinicians. AIM To understand the experiences of people with multimorbidity in the NZ health care system. METHODS A questionnaire was sent to 758 people with multimorbidity from two primary health care organisations (PHOs). Outcomes were compared to general population estimates from the NZ Health Survey. RESULTS Participants (n = 234, 31% response rate) reported that their general practitioners (GPs) respected their opinions, involved them in decision-making and knew their medical history well. The main barriers to effective care were short GP appointments, availability and affordability of primary and secondary health care, and poor communication between clinicians. Access issues were higher than for the general population. DISCUSSION Participants generally had very positive opinions of primary care and their GP, but encountered structural issues with the health system that created barriers to effective care. These results support the value of ongoing changes to primary care models, with a focus on patient-centred care to address access and care coordination.