Many issues are causing problems around the world for vet students - rising loan debt, low pay making it hard to repay, let alone own property or stop work to have a family. There are many more women in the profession who really want time out for children but can't, and there are less men not only entering the role, and those that do, often dont want the responsibility of owning practices. In general many people are avoiding becoming vets at all as they can earn more money with less abuse in other work areas.
It is hard for people to understand that as there are no government subsidies for vets,as there are for doctors, all the costs have to be paid. Many owners resent paying vet bills but refuse to get pet insurance cover, or limit the animals they have so they can afford to treat them when they are ill or injured.
The real risk for New Zealand is that the shortage is mainly in the rural area...the bit where the milk, the meat, the animal products that are exported overseas and earn large volumes of money to create an income for NZ is based. These are the vets who maintain these income streams, and help protect the country and the public from diseases like Mad Cow or Listeria - and ultimately will be there to catch any outbreaks from Foot and Mouth disease before they infect too many other animals.
I have never regretted joining this profession - I have loved it and managed a reasonable living, but I left university with no debt. Times have changed so much. If I had to decide what to do today i really don't know what i would do, but many capable people are choosing alternative careers. And I feel sorry for them, even as I understand their choice.