A welcome relief – that’s how the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is describing the decision to include veterinarians on the new Government Green List.
The petition launched on September 21 by Julie South of vet recruitment agency, VetStaff, has collected 302 signatures. The petition closes on October 31.
South told Rural News that the situation is "very dire". She says the 50 overseas vets granted border exceptions in June need MIQ spaces to get into the country.
"And where are we at with MIQ dates already - 2022? How crazy is that? The green light was given in June 2021 and we'll be lucky if they arrive in the New Year."
South says she's flabbergasted that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) won't set aside MIQ spaces to allow essential workers to get into NZ so they can work here.
New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) chief executive Kevin Bryant says South was in contact with them before launching directly with various government departments on the issue, it decided not to advocate South's petition.
"We appreciate what she's doing as an individual to help our profession," he told Rural News.
South is pleased with the response to her petition.
She says people are surprised that 50 vets were signed off in June and the country is still waiting for them to arrive.
"There is also surprise that government departments aren't supporting other government departments to help get NZ back on its feet again and that MBIE won't allow just two MIQ spaces for essential worker vets each week."
South warns that animal welfare is being compromised as a result of the vet shortage. Staff working long hours were also coming under pressure.