Greater penalties for stock thieves

A Bill designed to deter livestock theft will be introduced to Parliament today.

National MP Ian McKelvie says his Bill intends to introduce stricter measures for sentencing judges to draw on when sentencing thieves caught stock rustling.

“The current law offers no deterrent and the penalties don’t reflect the gravity of the crime or the likely suffering of an animal being slaughtered by a rank amateur.

“These crimes are often committed at night in the more remote parts of New Zealand. Small-scale, opportunistic grabs of half a dozen sheep or cows are relatively common, but police and MPI say sophisticated gangs with links to organised crime are increasingly mounting well-planned raids on farms.

“This Bill will give more confidence to victims of livestock rustling that there is an additional deterrent in place to discourage this type of crime.

“It also aims to give the police a more vigorous tool to take more action," says Ian.

“Stock rustling is a big issue for farmers. Federated Farmers estimates rustling costs farmers more than $120 million a year. A survey of more than 1000 farmers showed 26 per cent had stock stolen in the past five years but almost 60 per cent of thefts had not been reported to police.

“In one case in 2016 one Whanganui farmer lost 1400 lambs worth about $120,000 between October 25 and November 7."

The Bill complements National’s ongoing support for rural communities.

The National Government started rolling out 880 new sworn police officers, including 140 dedicated rural officers and a Rural Duties Officer Network.

"We also funded 12 new mobile police stations and committed to having 95 per cent of New Zealanders live within 25km of a 24/7 police presence," says Ian.


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