The New Zealand Veterinary Association says more funding is needed for the government’s voluntary bonding scheme to better reflect the increased costs students are facing to complete their qualification.
The scheme, which has been running for 14 years, was set up to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals and working dogs in regional New Zealand.
It sees successful VBS recipients each receive $55,000 of funding across five years with 33 graduate vets accepted into the scheme this year.
The programme is delivered by the Ministry for Primary Industries and since its inception in 2009 has supported 449 graduate vets.
Acting NZ Veterinary Association (NZVA) chief executive Kevin Anderson said that “unfortunately, the VBS programme has not increased the amount of payment since the programme’s inception in 2009, despite the cost of attending the BVSc programme having significantly increased”.
Anderson said the initial appeal of the VBS to Massey University graduates, as a way to pay off student debt, has decreased as higher pay in other locations, including overseas, can provide faster methods of loan repayment without the restriction of specific locations.
“The NZVA supports the VBS increasing the funding allocations per graduate, and the number of graduates, to ensure the appeal of the programme is maintained.”