“An acute shortage of vets could lead to animal welfare issues if the Government does not respond to the New Zealand Veterinary Association.”
National Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says the association contacted her this week after months of lobbying the Government for managed isolation and quarantine spaces (MIQ) to get overseas vets into NZ.
“Earlier this year, MPI and Minister O’Connor advocated for 50 border exceptions for vets to enter the country.
“But these vets are unable to book spaces, in the lottery that is, this country’s MIQ system.
Mrs Kuriger says: “Since then, the association has been lobbying for a dedicated MIQ allowance of two spaces per week to let those 50 vets in.
“Association CEO Kevin Bryant tells me vets are exhausted, working long hours, are on call 24/7 and some are breaking point. They are concerned animal welfare issues are emerging because of time delays due to them being unable to meet client needs.
“Vets are postponing routine procedures and doing their best to play catchup after lockdowns. On top of this there has been urgent seasonal demands from the primary sector during calving and lambing, and now there are the impending puppy and kitten seasons.”
She says vets who were keen to come to NZ, are now abandoning the idea, and taking up job offers in other countries.
“It’s unacceptable that the Government cannot sort the whole debacle of the MIQ system.
They need to prioritise the critical need for specialists like veterinarians and they need to do that right now!
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