A total of 34 graduate vets will be placed in rural areas this year, from Northland to Southland, through the Government's Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians (VBS).
Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor had a Zoom call about the talks with his UK counterpart, Liz Truss, last week. When the pair met in July, they made much play of the fact that they would try and come to an agreement in principle by the end of August.
At the time, O'Connor noted the pressure was on to get an agreement but conceded there were sensitive issues.
Only recently, the former NZ High Commissioner, Sir Lockwood Smith, stated that the FTA with the UK was there to be had and if the present government didn't do a deal it would be a massive failure on their part.
Last week, as Rural News went to press, there was still no deal. However, O'Connor is hopeful of a deal and said that negotiations were "continuing" toward reaching an agreement in principle.
"However, as we have always said, we need that agreement to be commercially meaningful for our exporters."
O'Connor says NZ remains committed to negotiating a high quality, comprehensive and inclusive FTA with the UK.