Vet bonding scheme

The Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) for Veterinarians supports graduate vets working in rural practices that focus on production animals. Learn more about the scheme, eligibility criteria, and how to apply.

2020 Funding round – Two additional spaces

We added 32 graduates to our scheme in 2020. This includes 2 additional graduates, selected through a second funding round held in November.

2020 Funding round

The 2020 Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) for Veterinarians funding round closed on Monday, 14 September 2020. MPI received 30 eligible applications and these have been approved for funding.  All successful applicants have been notified.

Media release: Regional vet graduates to receive financial boost 


2019 Review of the vet bonding scheme

In August 2019, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) commissioned Sapere Research Group to conduct a review of the Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) for Veterinarians. The review found that the VBS is meeting its objective to address rural veterinary staff shortages and is providing a return on investment.

See section 5 of the 2020 terms and conditions for the revisions MPI has made following the review:

  • 5.1 Absences or leave: A graduate can now return to work part-time in an eligible practice after taking parental leave.
  • 5.4 The maximum pause from the scheme in exceptional circumstances has been removed.
  • 5.5 A graduate may remain in the scheme if they start their own eligible practice.

Review of Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians [PDF, 1.5 MB]

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About the scheme

To help ease the shortage of rural veterinarians working with production animals, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) set up the Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) for Veterinarians. The scheme aims to attract and retain graduate vets into rural practice. It provides a payment to recently graduated vets who work in an eligible practice with a primary focus in production animals.

Participants eligible for $55,000 over 5 years

People taking part in the scheme are eligible for $55,000 ($11,000 each year) over the 5 years of the scheme. MPI will pay the first instalment in your third year in the scheme, with the second and third instalments made after the fourth and fifth years respectively. MPI will contact participants near their anniversary date and send them an Eligibility for Payment form to complete.

Tax and student loan deductions

You’ll need to pay secondary tax on your grant, as it is additional to your salary or wages. This is charged at the highest tax bracket for your earnings. For example, the highest tax bracket starts at $70,000 and anything you earn above that is taxed at 33 cents in the dollar.

Tax rates – Inland Revenue

Income tax is deducted as PAYE when the payment is made by MPI.

  • If you have a student loan, the after-tax amount will be paid directly to your student loan account at Inland Revenue.
  • If you do not have a student loan the after-tax amount will be paid directly to your bank account.

Graduates must meet criteria to apply

You can apply for the scheme if you graduated from Massey University’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science in the 12 months prior to submitting your application and you:

  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • are registered to practise in New Zealand and hold a current practising certificate, and
  • have a permanent, full-time position, in an eligible practice, whose focus is production animals, or
  • have been offered a role in an eligible practice.

All successful applicants stay in the scheme for 5 years, as long as they remain eligible.

Information for graduates

Download the current terms and conditions [PDF, 510 KB]

Previous terms and conditions

Download the 2019 terms and conditions [PDF, 405 KB]

Download the 2018 terms and conditions [PDF, 369 KB]

Download the 2016 terms and conditions [PDF, 255 KB]

Changes to your situation during the scheme

If you transfer to another eligible practice, you need to tell MPI before your move to your new practice. You’ll still be eligible for the grant. Email a transfer of practice application form to

Download the transfer of practice application form [PDF, 402 KB]

If you change workplace and your new workplace is not an eligible practice, you’ll no longer qualify for payments under the scheme. Let MPI know if you stop working for an eligible practice. Email

Before you take extended leave or parental leave, email details of your leave to

MPI will review your eligibility and your bonding period might be changed. The terms and conditions explain the rules around leave.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the scheme, email

Last reviewed: