Following a successful prosecution of a Central Hawke’s Bay farmer, the Department of Conservation (DOC) is warning farmers not to graze stock on reserve lands.
The farmer had charges laid against him after he deliberately cut boundary fences and stocked the Hiranui Scenic Reserve with 61 cows. Dave Carlton, DOC Conservation Services Manager said the Department sympathised with farmers who struggle with drought situations. However this does not give anyone the right to stock neighbours' land without their consent.
“The offence is worsened when the land is protected, in this case a scenic reserve.” This is a serious offence under the Reserves Act 1977 he said.
Hiranui Scenic Reserve had enjoyed over 20 years of protection. DOC had invested in fences, ongoing pest control and survey work. Mr Carlton said the damage done by the illegal stocking was immeasurable and had set the reserve back numerous years. Much of the lower vegetation had been destroyed and will take many years to recover.
People wanting further advice regarding reserves should contact their local DOC office.
Hiranui Scenic Reserve before the illegal grazing
Hiranui Scenic Reserve after the illegal grazing