Monday, March 2, 2009

An honourable profession

According to the Readers Digest, vets rank in the top ten of New Zealand’s most trusted professions. In fact, they rank number seven, two ahead of teachers, two behind doctors and three behind nurses.

As both a farmer, which ranks 13 on the list, and a politician, which ranks 39, it was with great pleasure last week I announced the Government’s new Graduate Bonding Scheme with my colleagues, Education Minister Anne Tolley and Health Minister Tony Ryall. See full New Zealand’s most trusted professions list.

The initiative addresses shortages of vets, doctors, midwives, nurses and teachers.

Rural areas can face greater challenges recruiting and retaining professionals due to isolation and remoteness. As Minister of Agriculture, one of the areas I will be focusing on is strengthening rural communities. The combined effect of the new graduate bonding scheme will do just that.

As I will tell the Veterinary Council tonight, when I open their new premises in Wellington, the voluntary bonding scheme for vets will see new graduates taking on rural practice, gumboots and all.

The scheme is targeted at rural vet practices working with farmed animals and encourages new graduates to stay on by providing a taxable payment of $11,000 each year, for up to five years.

More on the Vet Bonding Scheme.

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