Plea for more effort on wandering stock

MORE money for stock control on the East Coast is needed because there is a major problem of wandering stock causing deaths and serious accidents, says Gisborne District Council Waiapu Ward representative Bill Burdett.

Mr Burdett, speaking at the environmental planning and regulations committee, said the hours available for stock control officers at Ruatoria were “ridiculous.”

There was stock on the side of the road all the way from Tolaga Bay north to the top end of the Coast.

There was a livestock officer based in Tolaga Bay, one at Tokomaru Bay and one on either side of Ruatoria.

The two at Ruatoria were on 20 hours a month. That worked out at five hours a week. They were expected contractually to sit alongside their phone while watching TV in case there was a callout at night.

'People have been killed running into stock'

“The stock problems on the Coast are well known and have been there for a long time. People have been killed running into horses, running into cows and then running into other cars.

He personally got a call at 2am. When he and his manager went looking for stock, they were a mile from his farm and had come out of the Waiapu River.

The NZ Transport Agency had made funding available to Tairawhiti Roads to fence off access to rivers and other areas from which stock were able to get on to highways.

His concern was for the safety on the Coast road day and night. On the occasion that he was called out, a logging truck driver had complained through the after-hours service.

“Five hours a week allocated to our staff is ridiculous,” he said.

There was almost invariably stock on the road at night

He travelled regularly through the northern region and to Gisborne, and there was almost invariably stock on the road at night.

“We have the ability to serve abatement notices on those farms that continually offend. Their fences are no good. Nothing appears to have happened for quite some time.”

Over a period of time Tairawhiti Roads would have spent thousands, probably $150,000 on fences alongside the rivers and fencing them off.

He and others had gone back to the agency and said “look, we have a problem with stock, we need to fix it.” They generously came up with another $130,000.

When something happened in Gisborne it was five minutes to get to a problem. If it was stray or dangerous dogs, they were not very far away. But in the northern area it could be 1½ hours away or 2½ if they had to come from Tolaga Bay.

He had asked diplomatically how it could be fixed.

Apart from a conversation a little while ago with environmental services and protection director Nick Zaman, no one had told him what the issue was and why there was not a fairer share of the resources.

He understood a vehicle had been acquired as a result of money that came in but, in terms of impounding stock, that was the responsibility of the farmer or the landowner.

'They will pay the bill at the end of the day'

“They pay the bill at the end of the day.”

“All I want to know is how we can let this continue without doing something about it,” said Mr Burdett.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the committee appreciated the issue. It also had an issue with the NZTA, which was opposing the council’s amended livestock bylaw.

The two things were linked and it was really critical because there was stock on the state highway.

The agency had substantially increased its funding. Mr Burdett was asking how these dollars could be equally shared.

Mr Zaman said it would be best to bring this back in a policy paper that included the wider issues like sharing the resources because the money was eaten up fairly quickly.

An extra vehicle was needed because there was often a number of beasts to be dealt with at a time and it was a large area to cover.

MORE money for stock control on the East Coast is needed because there is a major problem of wandering stock causing deaths and serious accidents, says Gisborne District Council Waiapu Ward representative Bill Burdett.

Mr Burdett, speaking at the environmental planning and regulations committee, said the hours available for stock control officers at Ruatoria were “ridiculous.”

There was stock on the side of the road all the way from Tolaga Bay north to the top end of the Coast.

There was a livestock officer based in Tolaga Bay, one at Tokomaru Bay and one on either side of Ruatoria.

The two at Ruatoria were on 20 hours a month. That worked out at five hours a week. They were expected contractually to sit alongside their phone while watching TV in case there was a callout at night.

'People have been killed running into stock'

“The stock problems on the Coast are well known and have been there for a long time. People have been killed running into horses, running into cows and then running into other cars.

He personally got a call at 2am. When he and his manager went looking for stock, they were a mile from his farm and had come out of the Waiapu River.

The NZ Transport Agency had made funding available to Tairawhiti Roads to fence off access to rivers and other areas from which stock were able to get on to highways.

His concern was for the safety on the Coast road day and night. On the occasion that he was called out, a logging truck driver had complained through the after-hours service.

“Five hours a week allocated to our staff is ridiculous,” he said.

There was almost invariably stock on the road at night

He travelled regularly through the northern region and to Gisborne, and there was almost invariably stock on the road at night.

“We have the ability to serve abatement notices on those farms that continually offend. Their fences are no good. Nothing appears to have happened for quite some time.”

Over a period of time Tairawhiti Roads would have spent thousands, probably $150,000 on fences alongside the rivers and fencing them off.

He and others had gone back to the agency and said “look, we have a problem with stock, we need to fix it.” They generously came up with another $130,000.

When something happened in Gisborne it was five minutes to get to a problem. If it was stray or dangerous dogs, they were not very far away. But in the northern area it could be 1½ hours away or 2½ if they had to come from Tolaga Bay.

He had asked diplomatically how it could be fixed.

Apart from a conversation a little while ago with environmental services and protection director Nick Zaman, no one had told him what the issue was and why there was not a fairer share of the resources.

He understood a vehicle had been acquired as a result of money that came in but, in terms of impounding stock, that was the responsibility of the farmer or the landowner.

'They will pay the bill at the end of the day'

“They pay the bill at the end of the day.”

“All I want to know is how we can let this continue without doing something about it,” said Mr Burdett.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the committee appreciated the issue. It also had an issue with the NZTA, which was opposing the council’s amended livestock bylaw.

The two things were linked and it was really critical because there was stock on the state highway.

The agency had substantially increased its funding. Mr Burdett was asking how these dollars could be equally shared.

Mr Zaman said it would be best to bring this back in a policy paper that included the wider issues like sharing the resources because the money was eaten up fairly quickly.

An extra vehicle was needed because there was often a number of beasts to be dealt with at a time and it was a large area to cover.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you have a better understanding of the first encounters here between Maori and Europeans after the Tuia 250 Ki Turanga commemorations?