Announcement of border veterinary class exception helps close the gap

The New Zealand Veterinary Association is delighted and thanks the ministers of agriculture and immigration for announcing today that the government has granted a border class exception to 50 additional general practice vets to enter the country.

This will help alleviate the critical shortage of veterinarians that has been exacerbated by border restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

“We are particularly pleased with the timing of this announcement given the tremendous pressure our members are under with regards to animal welfare, biosecurity, production and surveillance and the announcement by the Australian government that it granted exceptions to 800 vets to enter Australia, “said Kevin Bryant, chief executive of the NZVA.

“A continuing shortage has potentially significant effects on the provision of veterinary services to breeders and animal owners. Our members have come under considerable pressure to fulfill their obligations, which is simply unbearable. This announcement gives our members a chance to fight for the help they need.

“Given New Zealand’s successful response to COVID-19, we are confident that this country will be viewed as a positive place to work by vets,” said Helen Beattie, NZVA chief veterinarian.

Last year the government granted 30 exceptions for large and mixed animal veterinarians to enter the country and although this is positive news, those vacancies were quickly filled, leaving an additional shortage of 50 in 100 veterinarians nationwide in all types of practice.

The critical shortage is an ongoing issue that the NZVA is working to alleviate through a range of workforce strategies to train and retain more veterinarians.

“We are actively working with the New Zealand Veterinary Council and Massey University to address these issues,” said Kevin Bryant.

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