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NZ Scheme Extended to Cover Farm Veterinarians

by 5m Editor
13 January 2010, at 10:30am

NEW ZEALAND - The Government is expanding its voluntary bonding scheme for veterinarians to cover those who care for farm livestock.

Agriculture Minister, David Carter, says the scheme will expand to cover all practices that deal with production animals, reports Rural News of New Zealand.

The scheme, launched last year, encourages new graduates to stay in an eligible practice by providing a taxable payment of NZ$11,000 for every year, up to five years, that they are working in the practice.

The scheme was originally aimed at practices in specific rural areas. Since then, 20 vets have been accepted into the scheme.

From this year, all practices that deal with production animals like dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry will be eligible, providing the vets receiving the funding spend most of their time working with these animals.

Mr Carter says the changes are the result of feedback from veterinarians and the NZ Vet Association.

He said: "When the scheme was launched, MAF acknowledged that good data on vet shortages was scarce, so a transition year was agreed while vets and their association, as well as Massey University and the Vet Council, could be consulted on the final design of the scheme.

"Its main limitation appeared to be the targeting of specific regions.

"Many practices reported they faced similar shortages and recruitment difficulties as those in the eligible areas, but were not able to use the voluntary bonding incentives to recruit and retain staff."

According to Rural News, Mr Carter says he is pleased that the scheme will now focus on encouraging vets into practices with production animals, wherever that practice may be.