Pursuant to section 75(i) of the Veterinarians Act 2005, the Veterinary Council of New Zealand sets out in this notice* the following prescribed minimum standards for practising as a veterinarian:
1. Fitness to Practise
A veterinarian must be fit in order to maintain his or her practising certificate and to practise as a veterinarian in New Zealand.
Matters that may bring a person’s fitness to practise into question can include:
- the contracting of any addictive, mental or physical condition;
- any addictive or inappropriate taking of drugs or alcohol;
- a formal competence enquiry from an employer;
- an adverse finding in any disciplinary action by an employer or licensing or professional body; and
- a guilty finding in any criminal proceeding (including traffic offences involving alcohol or drugs for which the maximum penalty is not less than three months’ imprisonment).
All persons are required to provide the council with a statement about their fitness to practise when they apply for registration or for a practising certificate.
The council may also examine a person (section 25(a)), require statutory declarations (section 25(b)), require other information (section 25(c)) and take various actions under specific, relevant sections of the Act.
2. Competence to Practise
(a) Competency Standards
Pursuant to section 88(3) of the Veterinarians Act 2005, the council refers persons to the document "Competency Standards and Performance Indicators for Veterinarians" available on the council’s website
and from the council’s office on request. This document sets out the competency standards council expects veterinarians to meet, at the point of initial registration, and on an ongoing basis, and provides criteria against which an individual veterinarian’s performance may be measured.
(b) Recency of Practice
All applicants for a practising certificate are required to provide the council with information on their recency of practice. In the following situations, the council, after consideration of the individual circumstances of the case, may propose to decline or place conditions upon the applicant’s practising certificate (section 26(3)(c)):
- those who have not practised as a veterinarian for five consecutive years, or have not practised as a veterinarian for five consecutive years in the area in which they intend to practise; and
- those who hold a recognised qualification or a pass in a prescribed examination or assessment programme (section 6) but have not:
- practised as a veterinarian for one or more years subsequent to gaining a section 6 entitlement to registration; or
- practised for one or more years in the area in which they intend to practise subsequent to gaining a section 6 entitlement to registration.
(c) Continuing Professional Development
The council requires veterinarians to record and report their professional development.
Under section 25, when considering an application for a practising certificate, the council may require the applicant to provide any document or information that the council considers, on reasonable grounds, is necessary to assess his or her application.
The council may use this section and section 26 where veterinarians have not reported on their professional development for more than two consecutive years.
*This notice replaces the Veterinary Council notice published in the New Zealand Gazette, 18 September 2008, No. 141, page 3854. The only change is the addition of specific recency of practice requirements for those who have not practised for one or more years subsequent to gaining a recognised qualification or a pass in a prescribed examination or assessment programme.