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Councillors push for urgent action on roaming stock

Renewed calls for action on wandering stock on the East Coast have come from Gisborne District Council’s Waiapu Ward councillor Bill Burdett.

Mr Burdett said he had been contacted by the president of the Te Araroa Progressive Association seeking an urgent meeting.

Two serious accidents in the past three weeks had involved stock on the road, and stock had been in the village the previous Sunday.

Stock control officers’ hours were limited to 20 a month outside normal working hours yet there was a large credit in this account which was paid for by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

“This can’t carry on because it is ridiculous,” he said. “I thought it would have been fixed by now.”

The officer who had resigned used to take her husband or her son around on night-time duties.

“Having people on 20 hours a month when we have the money there to do something about it is ridiculous.”

Not so long ago a full-time stock control officer had been based in Te Araroa.

District council environmental services and protection director Nick Zaman said he was aware of the issue and working to fill the vacancy. Money was in the account but there was an issue of where that money should be spent.

Committee chair Pat Seymour supported Mr Burdett. “Could we really ask that this be given some urgency,” she said.

The council should also review the hours that staff were working.

“Stock don’t care if they walk out on the road at 1am in the morning or every night. I think the 20 hours a month should be looked at, too.”

There was a real challenge for those who had to go out at night and manage stock.

Malcolm Maclean asked why the council did not take some action against the owner of the stock.