The man behind a proposal designed to deter people from cattle rustling says he hopes the final law goes further to include other rural crimes.
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie had his member’s bill proposing the law change pulled from the Parliamentary ballot recently.
The Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill proposes making stock theft an aggravating feature when thieves are sentenced in court.
McKelvie said stock rustling was a big issue for farmers, especially those in remote areas of the country.
So how big an issue is this?
Federated Farmers rural security spokesman Rick Powdrell said rustling cost farmers more than $120 million a year.
“The successful passing of this bill would show the victims of livestock rustling that the justice system is prepared to take these crimes seriously,” he said.
“It’s frightening when you are faced with someone in a remote rural area who is most likely armed.”
Federated Farmers wanted to see rustlers have the potential to lose the vehicles and equipment used in the crime, just like what happens in fisheries, he said.
Figures from a survey Federated Farmers did of more than 1000 farmers showed 26 per cent had had stock stolen in the past five years, but almost 60 per cent of stock thefts had not been reported to police.
That’s a lot bigger than I realised.