I was in Palmerston North last week and visited Massey University.
I was really impressed, the science and innovation coming out of there is incredible.
We have some bright, young things way ahead of the game, it was great to see.
Part of my visit included a tour of the Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences where I met some veterinary students and a dog named Patch - a blue heeler-border collie cross from one of the University farms.
Rural veterinarians play an essential role in maintaining high standards of animal welfare, biosecurity, and food safety.
I know from my own personal experience many rural areas have inadequate veterinary services.
This shortage poses a threat to our pastoral farming model and is a major concern of the New Zealand Veterinarian Association.
As the Minister of Agriculture I recognise the contribution vets make to New Zealand’s primary sector and am keen to assist in retention of vets in rural areas.
The Government has consulted closely with Massey and New Zealand Veterinarian Association to design a bonding scheme for vets who are prepared to work in hard to staff rural areas.
The bonding initiative is expected to be implemented shortly.