The first in this series with Iain McLachlan can be found at episode 084

The second of three episodes with Iain McLachlan – CEO of the New Zealand Veterinary Council.

Julie South and Iain McLachlan talk about:

  • the veterinary shortage, 
  • the nursing shortage, 
  • why the NZ VC doesn’t include two of the world’s top 10 veterinary science universities in its List of Recognised Institutions, 
  • when it’s going to update that list of Recognised Institutions, 
  • what clinics can do if they absolutely cannot manage their after-hours obligations, and 
  • what “limited registration” means.

Questions for Iain from Julie

Why the Council won’t allow an overseas qualified vet with considerable years of expertise in their chosen field – for example as a dairy vet or equine vet – work in NZ without requiring them to sit additional exams covering species they have no intention of working as a veterinarian in.  

What Iain would say to overseas qualified veterinarians who have to sit the AVE exams and answer questions about species they have no future intention of working in. 

How and why the Australians are involved. 

Why can’t the AVE exams be held in NZ to help allay the Covid-induced backlog of overseas qualified vets waiting to sit those exams in Brisbane. 

What Iain would say to overseas qualified vets who’re seeing reports in the NZ media about the shortage we have here of veterinarians but they’re unable to help alleviate the situation because they cannot legally practise as a Veterinarian. 

What the smaller vet clinics can do when they’re absolutely overloaded and cannot handle another night of being on call. 

And we talked a bit about the business opportunity for a telehealth after hours service or overload service to be started and/or expanded in NZ.

New Zealand Veterinary Council not responsible for pay rates

The Vet Council cannot control pay rates – that’s not its function.  

Yet I was surprised by the number of respondents who somehow thought that was a power the Council had.   I asked lots of other questions of Iain that came from the survey, but I didn’t raise the question of pay rates because it’s beyond his and the Council’s control. 

CEO & Registrar – NZ Vet Council

Iain McLachlan is the CEO & Registrar of the New Zealand Veterinary Council. 

He’s responsible for leading and managing the Council as well as carrying out the functions of the Registrar, as set out in the Veterinarians Act 2005.

Iain McLachlan

CEO & Registrar

New Zealand Veterinary Council

The New Zealand Veterinary Council is NZ vet sector’s governing body.  It’s responsible for the governance of the organisation and, ultimately, for making sure functions per the Veterinarians Act are carried out and adhered to.

The Council has a team of eight staff and seven council members.

The eight staff are led by Iain as CEO and Registrar.   He’s supported by Veterinarian Dr Seton Butler – the Council’s professional adviser.

Iain and his team report to the Council’s seven Council members. 

NZVC Council

Three of the Council members are elected by veterinarians, two are lay people appointed by the Minister of Agriculture – currently Damien O’Connor, MP, one member is a veterinarian also appointed by the Minister and the seventh member is the Academic Programme Director of the undergraduate veterinary programme at Massey University.

Iain reports to a collective team of brains, experience and credibility.

Dr Lindsay Burton

Dr Lindsay Burton is the ministerial-appointed veterinarian and Chair.   He was appointed in May 2015 and has been Chair since March 2019.   His background includes being a mixed animal veterinarian after he graduated from Massey.  He’s also been part of the NZ Dairy Board and Livestock Improvement Corporation as well as other consortiums and forums.  He’s a science-based decision-maker and a member of the Council’s Professional Standards Committee and the Finance and Risk Committee.

Dr Ben Davidson

Dr Ben Davidson is an elected veterinary member and Deputy Chair.  Dr Davidson was elected in 2016 and has been Deputy Chair since 2019.  He’s previously served on the Council’s Complaints Assessment Committee.  Today’ he’s Chair of Finance and Risk.

Dr Rachel Gebbie

Dr Rachel Gebbie is an elected veterinary member.  Dr Gebbie was elected to the Council in 2016 and is Chair of the Professional Standards Committee.

Dr Julie Everett-Hincks

Dr Julie Everett-Hincks is the ministerial non-veterinary appointee.  She has a PhD in animal science and worked as a senior scientist at Ag Research before completing her law degree.   Julie’s a member of the professional standards committee of the Council.

Mr Zach Mounsey

Mr Zach Mounsey is the ministerial non-veterinary appointee.  Zach is a member of the Finance and Risk Committee.

Dr Jenny Weston

Dr Jenny Weston is the Academic Programme Director of the undergraduate veterinary programme at Massey University.

Dr Sarah Bagheri

Dr Sarah Bagheri is an elected veterinary member.   A mixed practice vet, she graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2006 and was elected to the Council in 2019.

That’s a pretty impressive line up of people to report to. 

Mr Iain McLachlan

Mr Iain McLachlan is a practising lawyer – that means he holds a practising certificate from the NZ Law Society and has been admitted to the bar as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.  Just like it’s an offence for someone to call themselves Veterinarian when they don’t hold a practising certificate, so too is it an offence to call yourself a practising lawyer when you don’t hold a practising certificate.  

As a practising lawyer, Iain gives legal advice to the Council.

Before joining VCNZ, Iain’s worked in professional regulation in New Zealand and the UK and in private practice.

He’s a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington where he studied his Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration. 

Iain’s also completed the Te Pōkaitahi Reo (Reo Rua) (Te Kaupae 4) programme with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.  If you’re wondering what that is, it’s an intermediate reo Māori course, intended for learners who already understand and use te reo at an advanced-intermediate level.   


New Zealand Veterinary Council

+64 4 473 9600

Veterinarians Act 2005

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