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Stock standard: Tairāwhiti farmers set the bar for responsible stock management in region’s recovery

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is recognising local farmers for their quick work to re-instate fences alongside State Highway 35 following the significant weather events in the regions during March and April, to avoid risks from wandering stock.

Central North Island Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says the significant weather events saw widespread damage across the Tairāwhiti and Northern Hawke’s Bay regions.

“There is extensive damage to long stretches of fence lines up the coast caused by heavy wind, rain and flooding, and it’s awesome to see so many fixed-up to secure and prevent stock causing a problem on our network.

“Animals on highways present a significant safety risk for motorists and there is the potential for serious injury, and even fatal crashes, as a result.”

Stock wandering onto State Highway 35 has been an ongoing issue since Waka Kotahi resumed management of wandering stock in the region in July 2020.

The owners of stock are liable for any damage caused if their stock are wandering, and they can be prosecuted if animals cause a crash and negligence is proven.

The road to recovery for the region’s roading network will be long and SH35 won’t look the same in the future, Ms Hankin says.

“What you see on the network will be like this for some time – single lanes, sections of unsealed road, signs, traffic lights, cones and temporary speed limits.

“This will be a lengthy recovery and, as with our immediate response, the longer-term plan will be a combined effort with mana whenua, communities and council partners.

“It’s awesome to see the Tairāwhiti spirit coming through, with people pitching in to do their part to keep everything moving.”

People are asked to report any wandering stock to Waka Kotahi by phoning 0800 4 HIGHWAYS.

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