Veterinary border class exception announcement helps fill the gap

The New Zealand Veterinary Association is delighted and thanks the Ministers of Agriculture and Immigration for their announcement today that the government has granted a border class exception for an additional 50 general practice veterinarians to enter the country.

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

"We are particularly pleased by the timing of this announcement given the considerable pressure our members have been under in regard to animal welfare, biosecurity, production and surveillance and the announcement by the Australian government that they have granted exceptions for 800 veterinarians to enter Australia," says Kevin Bryant, Chief Executive of the NZVA.

"A continued shortage has potentially significant effects on veterinary service provision to farmers and pet owners. Our members have been under considerable pressure to meet their obligations which is simply unsustainable. This announcement gives our members a fighting chance to get the help they need."

"Given New Zealand’s successful response to COVID-19 we are confident that this country will be seen as a positive place to work by veterinarians," says Helen Beattie, NZVA Chief Veterinary Officer.

Last year the government granted 30 exceptions for large and mixed animal veterinarians to enter the country and while this was positive news these vacancies were quickly filled leaving a further shortage of between 50 and 100 veterinarians nationwide across all types of practice.

The critical shortage is an ongoing issue which the NZVA is working hard to alleviate through a range of work force strategies to train and retain more veterinarians.

"We are actively working with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand and Massey University to address these issues," says Kevin Bryant.