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Canterbury and West Coast property owners urged to check state of fences to ensure stock and road users are safe


The NZ Transport Agency and Police are reminding property owners of their responsibility to keep animals safely fenced after two recent crashes involving horses. One was a serious crash on the Northern Motorway, State Highway 1, on the outskirts of Christchurch and the other on State Highway 6 just north of Hokitika, on the West Coast.


Cow on a Banks Peninsula road last summer.

The Transport Agency’s Journey Manager Lee Wright says wandering stock pose serious safety risks to all road users, not only on the state highway network, but also on local roads.

“Animals on highways, or on the edge of highways, present a significant hazard for anyone driving and there is the potential for serious injury, and even fatal crashes, as a result.

“The Transport Agency is reminding rural property owners that they are liable for any damage caused by their animals and if the animals cause a crash and negligence is proven, the livestock owner may be prosecuted.”

Ms Wright says property and livestock owners need to be aware they have responsibilities under three pieces of legislation: the Crimes Act 1961, the Animal Law Reform Act 1989 and the Impounding Act 1955.

“It is important property and livestock owners are aware of their responsibilities and take relevant measures to ensure these animals remain adequately fenced in – for the sake of the animals and all road users.”

  • Motorists and residents should report wandering stock to the Police’s “Star 555” (*555) free cell phone service, or for an emergency, 111.
  • Drivers can also report incidents to the Transport Agency’s 0800 4 HIGHWAYS service, 24/7.