Government ropes in livestock rustling

Justice Minister Andrew Little today introduced a supplementary order paper (SOP) on the Crimes Amendment Bill to crack down on livestock rustling.

Federated Farmers estimates the cost of theft of livestock to the farming community at over $120 million every year, and a survey indicates about a quarter of their members had stock stolen in the last 5 years.

“The Coalition Government has listened to farmers and rural communities. Farmers have told us about the toll the scourge of livestock rustling is having on their livelihoods and quality of life.

“This Government recognises the contribution farmers and rural people make to New Zealand and our economy. Their contributions should not be undermined by the theft of their livestock.

“That’s why we’re taking action to address livestock rustling before Christmas”, said Andrew Little.

The SOP proposes two new offences to be added to the Crimes Act. The offences are:

  • theft of livestock or other animal, carrying a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.
  • unlawful entry to land used for agricultural purposes, where the offender intends to steal livestock or act unlawfully against specified things, such as buildings or machinery, on that land. That offence carries up to 10 years imprisonment.

“This particular SOP requires agreement of every MP to be considered at Committee Stage. I am grateful that every party has indicated they will support that procedural motion.

“I also want to acknowledge and thank the Primary Production Committee - and particularly National’s Ian McKelvie and Labour’s Kieran McAnulty - for their bipartisan assistance to the Government in addressing the issue of livestock rustling,” said Andrew Little.