Veterinary Border Class Exception Announcement Helps Fill The Gap – New Zealand Veterinary Association


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.

TDB Recommends


  1. Maybe get better working conditions for vets as they have high risk for suicide.

    Young vets at risk of suicide

    “When Alderson asked for time off she was denied.

    “I just couldn’t afford to stop working,” Alderson said. “There’s this misconception that vets are rich but we’re not, and we’re constantly being asked to do work for free.”

    NZ thinking, don’t worry when your industry has major issues, keep going and import in more people so you don’t have to address significant flaws in how your industry operates in the world, such as long hours, poor relative pay, high debt, on call work and lots of stress.

    We need to train more vets in NZ to stay in NZ and have more people entering the field. At present it is extremely difficult to get into vet school in Massey and the recruits are often chosen for the academic rigour in science rather than a holistic look the candidates ability to cope with the trials of the actual job.

    We also seem to be training overseas vets in NZ with

    “Fast track your veterinary career

    In New Zealand, professional training programmes (like medicine, vet and law) are undergraduate degrees, so you don’t need a previous degree. Whether you’ve recently completed high school, or have already done a couple of years or even a degree or two at university, you could join one of our two pathways to become a veterinarian in five years or less. The Massey veterinary degree is one of the fastest paths to becoming a fully qualified, veterinarian accredited to work in many countries (including the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, NZ and others). By spending fewer years at university, you can start your veterinary career sooner and save on tuition fees.

    Renowned for an excellent lifestyle, New Zealand is a great place to study abroad for your AVMA-accredited veterinary degree.”

    Crazy, we have few vet places and staff shortages but then trying to attract international students to fill the vet places in Massey!

    Can we please get a life in NZ outside of some neoliberal spreadsheet of moving money around, because in practical terms it doesn’t seem to be working very well!

    • NZVA whilst being held up as a union for vets, are heavily weighted towards corporate practice owners and are essentially an employer lobby group.

      NZVA is celebrating the “victory” of allowing in vets at 85k salaries when the cut off is supposed to 106k.

      Never mind it will very obviously drive down wages.

      The NZ vet industry needs structural change to increase experienced vet retention being one of the most corporatized in the world.
      Immigration ponzi will only exacerbate the issues long term.

      Our problem (shared with Aussie and other western countries) isn’t that there aren’t enough vets graduating, it’s that pay and conditions are poor.
      Less than a qualified tradesperson in most instances.
      Australia doubled their number of vet schools and graduates and the problem only got worse.
      You can’t fill a bucket with holes in it by pouring in more water, you have to fix the holes.

      My worry with fair pay agreements is that the essentially employer run NZVA gets used to negotiate minimum standards- it will result in a similar outcome to Australia – a further drop in real incomes and on call vets getting payed less than vet nurses for call outs.

Comments are closed.