Labour’s inaction putting animal welfare at risk

The shortage of veterinarians in New Zealand is reaching critical heights and is now compromising animal welfare, National’s Animal Welfare spokesperson Tim van de Molen says.

“Three months ago the Government attempted to show it was taking the issue seriously by granting a token 50 border exemptions for vets to enter the country. But it never provided the MIQ allocation grant to go alongside it and without going through MIQ vets can’t come to New Zealand.

“So while theoretically a small number of vets are now able to come to New Zealand to help fill our critical shortage, the Government’s inability to act practically has meant they are sitting in the MIQ virtual lobby trying their best to get a spot alongside tens of thousands of other people desperate to enter New Zealand.

“New Zealand is short several hundred vets and it’s putting the welfare of animals at risk. We’re now entering spring which is a particularly busy time for vets in rural areas but practises for domestic pets are also feeling the pinch.

“Sadly, this is also now impacting on the mental wellbeing of farmers and veterinary teams who are working even longer hours to cover the shortage.

“This problem the Government has caused could’ve been dealt with if it picked up National’s suggestion to change the way our MIQ system works to a points-based system. Those who have the skills New Zealand desperately needs, like vets, would be allocated more points and therefore would be prioritised for a spot in MIQ.

“Being given the green light to enter the country is one thing, however physically being able to enter the country is another. Even allocating a handful of MIQ spaces to vets every few weeks would make a difference.

“The Government must act practically so the health of animals across the country aren’t put at risk.”