AIMS. This study compared the performance of deep learning extensions of survival analysis models with traditional Cox proportional hazards (CPH) models for deriving cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction equations in national health administrative datasets. METHODS. Using individual person linkage of multiple administrative datasets, we constructed a cohort of all New Zealand residents aged 30-74 years who interacted with publicly funded health services during 2012, and identified hospitalisations and deaths from CVD over five years of follow-up. After excluding people with prior CVD or heart failure, sex-specific deep learning and CPH models were developed to estimate the risk of fatal or non-fatal CVD events within five years. The proportion of explained time-to-event occurrence, calibration, and discrimination were compared between models across the whole study population and in specific risk groups. FINDINGS. First CVD events occurred in 61,927 of 2,164,872 people. Among diagnoses and procedures, the largest 'local' hazard ratios were associated by the deep learning models with tobacco use in women (2.04, 95%CI: 1.99-2.10) and with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute lower respiratory infection in men (1.56, 95%CI: 1.50-1.62). Other identified predictors (e.g. hypertension, chest pain, diabetes) aligned with current knowledge about CVD risk predictors. The deep learning models significantly outperformed the CPH models on the basis of proportion of explained time-to-event occurrence (Royston and Sauerbrei's R-squared: 0.468 vs. 0.425 in women and 0.383 vs. 0.348 in men), calibration, and discrimination (all p<0.0001). INTERPRETATION. Deep learning extensions of survival analysis models can be applied to large health administrative databases to derive interpretable CVD risk prediction equations that are more accurate than traditional CPH models.