Amendment Bill to deter livestock rustling

Rural Exchange 04/02/2018

Immortalised at the Church of the Good Shepherd, James McKenzie, founder of the McKenzie Country, was a livestock rustler in 1855. 

He was caught stealing 1000 sheep.

Today livestock theft is extremely costly and a scary reality for the farming community in New Zealand. It's estimated to cost the sector $120-million.

Ian McKelvie, Rangitikei National MP is seeking to change the Sentencing Act 2002 to give harsher penalties to livestock rustlers.

Mr McKelvie joined Rural Exchange to discuss this week's first reading of his Amendment Bill.

He says in the early days, livestock rustlers in Otago were "hanged".

"We're not going quite that far," he said, laughing.

He told Rural Exchange that Federated Farmers has been looking for action on this issue for some time.

It's been an issue for a long, long time.

"Of course it's quite difficult to get action that actually does repair the damage or tries to prevent things from happening," he said.

Mr McKelvie says a problem Otago faces is "isolation".

"It's a very big challenge to catch the people who are doing this livestock rustling.

A percentage of these people are young people. So it would be a shame to put them in jail.

"So we've got to find other ways of dealing with this issue," he told RadioLIVE.

"It's been quite a long road to get to this point."

Listen to the full interview with James McKenzie above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.