Incentives to keep vets in rural practices welcome
New Zealand Veterinary Association
Thursday 23 October
Incentives to keep vets in rural practices welcomed
National’s proposals to address the rural veterinary shortages - including a voluntary bonding scheme for rural veterinarians - has been welcomed by the veterinary profession.
New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) chief executive, Julie Hood, says the proposals will greatly assist the severe shortage of veterinarians in rural areas.
“This is a serious issue, not only for the profession, but for the viability of our agricultural exports, the welfare of our animals and our biosecurity surveillance systems.”
Ms Hood says the NZVA would not normally comment on political policies, but this particular policy proposal is an important step towards attracting and retaining young veterinary graduates into hard to service areas.
“In many rural areas, the thin green line which is the rural veterinary workforce is stretched and, in some cases, already broken.”
She says in areas like the east coast of the North Island, where there is now no veterinary presence for some distance, animal welfare is a growing concern.
“Veterinarians play an important role in maintaining welfare standards and also in animal disease surveillance. When dealing effectively with foot and mouth disease, for example, early detection is extremely important.”
"A strong and effective rural veterinary presence is critical in a country that is so dependent on primary production for export income.”
The NZVA has been working on identifying the extent of the rural veterinary shortage issue for the past two years. Ms Hood says the association is heartened by discussions with the Labour-led government over the last 12 months and is hoping their deliberations will lead to a similar outcome.
“The association now requests that other parties agree with and support the proposals for the future of New Zealand's export earnings and wellbeing as a nation.”