21 Feb 2014

Vets push rural bonding scheme

4:27 pm on 21 February 2014

The Veterinary Association is sending a message to political parties this election year as it looks to continue the rural bonding scheme for graduate vets.

The scheme was introduced to encourage young vets to work in rural practices, to overcome a serious staffing shortage in some country areas.

The association's chief executive, Julie Hood, says more than 100 graduates are now part of the scheme, which started in 2010, and there's been a very high retention rate of 96 percent.

She says there are 102 new graduates on the scheme, which has been fully subscribed since the second year, and there is now a waiting list.

Ms Hood says students have to work for three years before getting their first payout.

She says while it has done a lot to overcome vet shortages in rural practices, there are still staffing gaps in some areas, such as Gisborne-Wairoa, Southland and the West Coast.

The association is working with the Primary Industries Ministry to tackle that.