Many legal minds making NZ LAW work

We are an association of independent legal practices, proactively sharing ideas and expertise for the benefit of our clients.

Wandering stock

Published: 17th December 2018

Author: Neil Dent, Gifford Devine

Published in: Rural eSpeaking, No 28, Summer 2018

The right to impound and to claim for damages

One of the perennial problems that farmers face is that of stock wandering or stock getting out and interfering with, or causing damage to, neighbouring properties. Generally speaking, the issue of having a small number of stock grazing on your land for a short time until they are put back in the neighbour’s property may not be too great a concern.

There are, however. some fairly serious issues that can arise, particularly where stock from a pastoral farm, for example, gets into cropping or orchard land where the damage could not only relate to the crops that are eaten or destroyed but also could cause issues with export or organic certification. As a result, losses caused by wandering or trespassing stock could be significantly in excess of the value of the lost crops.

What can be done about this?

 

The right to impound

The Impounding Act 1955 gives landowners the right to ‘impound’ wandering stock and, in the case of pigs or goats (except for branded angora, saanen or toggenburg goats), destroy them. A landowner can use the provisions of the Impounding Act to impound stock and claim damages for trespassing and/or destroy stock.

The occupier of land trespassed on by stock is only entitled to demand, or recover, damages:

  • If the land trespassed on is fenced, or
  • If he or she proves that the trespass onto the land was not wholly or partly due to the fact that the land or the portion trespassed on was not fenced, or
  • In any case where stock trespassing on any land adjoining the farmer’s land was not fenced and has trespassed onto their land from that adjoining land, they can prove that trespass onto the adjoining land was not wholly or partly due to the fact that the adjoining land was not fenced, or
  • The land (whether fenced or unfenced) is situated in a city or part of a district that was formerly a city or a borough.

Generally, any fencing would need to comply with the requirements of an ‘adequate fence’ as defined in the Fencing Act 1978.

The damages for trespass are governed by s26 of the Act and are recoverable from the owner of the stock. Under this legislation, the quantum of damages is ‘Any damages whatsoever on account of the trespass thereon of any stock’.

The landowner can choose to seek ‘trespass rates’ instead of damages (s27). Trespass rates are fairly low and a landowner would usually only elect to do those where stock was simply grazing, as opposed to damaging any crops. Having said that, the trespass rates for stock trespassing growing crops is higher than the trespass rates for animals trespassing on ‘any paddock of grass or stubble’.

Impounding

If a landowner wants to impound trespassing stock, they have the right to impound the stock in the ‘nearest accessible pound to the place where the stock was found trespassing’ and the stock may be ‘led, driven or conveyed to the pound by the occupier of the land trespassed upon’.

An occupier of land also has the option to impound the stock on their own land or the land that they are occupying ‘in any convenient place’. However, stock cannot be impounded for any longer than two whole days of 24 hours each, after which the stock needs to be either released or conveyed to the nearest pound.

 

Destroying pigs, goats and chickens

Section 31 of the Act gives the occupier of any fenced land sown in grass, or under cultivation, the right to destroy any poultry, pigs or goats (except for branded angora, saanen or toggenburg goats) found trespassing. Within 24 hours of destroying any such animal or bird, the occupier must send, in writing, a description of the animal or bird destroyed and the place where it was destroyed to the owner if they are known and if not known, to their nearest police station.

 

Be mindful of the legislation before acting

The rights of occupiers of land trespassed on by stock from neighbouring properties is fairly clear. However, as is often the case, in exercising these rights, any occupier must be mindful of the Act and of the obligations that legislation places upon them.

Stock is an expensive commodity and if the occupier does not follow the rules when impounding or destroying stock, then they could themselves face liability. We recommend that if you wish to exercise any of these rights, talk with us before doing so.

Related Articles

  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Canterbury
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke's Bay
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Manawatu - Wanganui
  • Marlborough
  • Nelson
  • Northland
  • Otago
  • Southland
  • Taranaki
  • Waikato
  • Wairarapa
  • Wellington
  • West Coast

Price Baker Berridge

Price Baker Berridge is a boutique law firm specialising in Unit Titles and Body Corporate law. Our wealth of experience includes Leaky Building Litigation and Resolution, Meetings, Levies, Rules and Redevelopments.

We also provide a full range of general legal services, including Property, Commercial, Trusts, Litigation and Employment Law.

Our clients, from individuals to large corporates, value our commitment to providing cost-effective advice and solutions.

Region: Auckland

Phone: 09 836 1079

Kaimai Law Limited

Kaimai Law Bethlehem has been based in Bethlehem, Tauranga for nearly a decade, and our new office at The Lakes opened in March 2017.  The majority of lawyers in our professional team at Kaimai Law Bethlehem & Kaimai Law The Lakes has 10 to 30+ years of experience in their respective fields, which means that they have the knowledge required to give you legal advice you can trust. 

Kaimai Law Bethlehem & Kaimai Law The Lakes specialise in all property matters including conveyancing, finance and subdivisions, as well as family law, commercial law, estate planning, estate administration, trusts, wills, employment law and relationship property. Kaimai Law Bethlehem & The Lakes are your one stop law shops in Tauranga.

Region: Bay of Plenty

Phone: 07 579 3316

RSM Law

RSM Law is considered one of the most client focused law firms in South Canterbury. Established in 1883, the firm has played an integral part in the growth and development of South Canterbury, and beyond.

RSM Law's expertise covers all areas of the law, with particular emphasis on business law (including company law, small business and compliance); property law (rural and commercial property, and home buying and selling); litigation; resource management issues,(Carbon Accounting and Emissions Trading) estate planning, wills and trusts; infrastructure and syndication; and personal legal services.

Region: Canterbury

Phone: 03 687 9777

Purnell Lawyers

There is nothing as inevitable as change. Since opening for business early last century, we at Purnell Lawyers have seen many changes both in name and in the people who have made up the members of our team. We have been privileged to have served the public throughout all of these times. 

We are confident that we will continue to bring top quality legal services to our clients well into the future.

Region: Coromandel

Phone: 07 868 8680

Woodward Chrisp

At Woodward Chrisp we strive to meet the needs of our clients by providing a wide range of high quality legal services within a supportive and collaborative environment.

Woodward Chrisp is the amalgamation of two long established Gisborne legal firms: Woodward Iles & Co and Chrisp and Chrisp. Today’s partners are Ross Revington, Adam Simperingham, Jeff Allen and Ellie FitzGerald.

Region: Gisborne

Phone: 06 869 0900

NZ LAW Limited

NZ LAW Limited is an association of independent legal practices with member firms located throughout New Zealand. There are currently 57 member firms practising in a wide range of legal disciplines ranging from business law, home buying and selling, immigration law and intellectual property to aviation law and viticulture.

The group was established in 1992 when about five law firms met in Auckland to find a way to benefit their clients by replicating the conviviality and the sharing of ideas and expertise that occurs in larger law firms, but still be able to retain client confidentiality and their own independence.

Region: Hawke's Bay

Phone: 06 835 5299

Breaden McCardle Lawyers

Breaden McCardle Lawyers is the largest full service legal practice in the Kapiti Region.

We are here to help you and pride ourselves on providing practical, solutions based advice to clients in an approachable and straightforward manner.

Region: Kapiti Coast

Phone: 04 296 1105

CS Law

Looking after you, your family, and the small print.

Region: Manawatu - Wanganui

Phone: 06 368 9239

Wain & Naysmith

Based in Blenheim, Wain & Naysmith Lawyers is a full service law firm, and a powerhouse for property, family and business law.

We pride ourselves in providing clear and cost effective legal solutions and practical advice for you, your family and your business.

Region: Marlborough

Phone: 03 520 6103

Knapps Lawyers

As a firm, we promise to look after you and treat you in a manner that we would expect to be treated by a professional services provider; we promise to use every available legal remedy available to us to resolve your issue and to do what you ask us to do in a timely manner.

We will hold in strict confidence all information that we acquire through our work for you and which concerns your business or personal information.  The only exceptions are where you authorise us to disclose such information or where we must do so by law.

Region: Nelson

Phone: 03 544 7888

Thomson Wilson

Thomson Wilson is a full service law firm based in Whangarei. We’ve been trusted lawyers for the Northland community and beyond for 75 years.

We act for individuals and families, businesses, public sector and other organisations. Whether you need no-fuss advice on a simple matter, or a team of legal experts. 

Our staff provide advice in most areas of the law, including property law, business law, trusts and estates, separation and divorce, resource management, criminal law and more.

We also offer expertise in specialist areas such as Maori land, local government law, farming and forestry.

Region: Northland

Phone: 09 430 4380

Berry & Co

Berry & Co is a long established, well respected Otago law firm providing a broad range of legal services for our business and personal clients.

We enjoy working closely with our clients, we listen and then we provide practical commonsense legal advice that achieves the outcome that is desired. We have a reputation for obtaining excellent results.

Region: Otago

Phone: 03 433 0007

Sheddan Pritchard Law Ltd

Incorporating traditional values and a fresh perspective, Sheddan Pritchard Law is here to assist you with all your legal needs. 

Our friendly and team-driven approach underpins our firm’s values, recognising the importance of putting people first and allows us to connect and nurture professional relationships with new and existing clients within our local community of Gore, as well as throughout New Zealand and extending overseas.

Region: Southland

Phone: 03 209 0030

Welsh McCarthy

Welsh McCarthy practises in Hawera, South Taranaki. Predominant industries in the South Taranaki district are dairy farming, oil and gas. The South Taranaki area also has the largest one-site multi product milk processing facility in the world

We deal with company and commercial transactions, commercial and family law, farm and residential sales and purchases, estate planning and family and charitable trusts. A large part of the firm also deals in the area of family law.

Region: Taranaki

Phone: 06 278 5039

James & Wells Intellectual Property

We’re intellectual property experts, but we are also business strategists, scientists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and commercialisation specialists.

We’re all committed to the same goal – making sure Kiwi innovation makes it big on the world stage. Why are we so passionate? Well, it’s sad but true, historically Kiwis haven’t made the most of their great ideas. Maybe because most people don’t realise that 80% of the value of their business is in intangible assets.

This is why we have focused our firm on helping our clients make the most of these valuable assets. 

Region: Waikato

Phone: 07 957 5660

Gawith Burridge

Gawith Burridge traces its history back to 1875 when Charles Gawith first set up his practice. Since then the firm has undergone many changes, including a merger between Gawith & Co and Burridge & Co in 1998 to form our current practice.

Our firm draws on the breadth of expertise available from some of the region’s most senior legal practitioners, as well as the skills of those who have moved here from larger corporate environments.

As a result, we provide clients with a comprehensive range of legal services right here in the Wairarapa. We can provide you with legal assistance whether you are an individual or a company, with everything from setting up a Will to selling your farming business. 

Region: Wairarapa

Phone: 06 370 0000

Greg Kelly Law Ltd

Greg Kelly Law Limited is a boutique Wellington law firm specialising in trust and elder law. Our practice areas are wills, estates and trusts.

We act for private and institutional clients establishing and administering trusts, wills and estates. We also provide quality advice to legal and accounting firms in New Zealand and overseas. In particular, we can assist with legal opinions, obtaining and resealing probate, and estate and trust litigation.

Region: Wellington

Phone: 04 499 5193

Hannan & Seddon

The Law Firm of Hannan & Seddon dates back to September 1867.

The firm's offices were in Werita Street from 1867 until 1982 when the firm moved to Tarapuhi Street and then to its current spacious premises at 61 Guinness Street in 1998.

The name Hannan comes from Mr Michael Hannan whose son John Hannan (Jack) joined the firm in 1908. Jack Hannan remained in partnership until he passed away in 1974 at the age of 90!

The name Seddon comes from Mr T E Y Seddon (son of Premier Richard John Seddon from Kumara) who joined the firm in the 1920's. The other prominent Solicitor at Hannan & Seddon was Cyril McGinley who joined the firm in the late 1920’s and retired as a Consultant in 1997 aged 87.

Currently we have two Partners within our firm. Tony Sullivan who has been with us for 29 years and Colin Smith, 26 years. The firm also has two long serving Legal Executives Elaine Knowles and Beverley Walsh.  

Region: West Coast

Phone: 03 768 4169

All the information published on this website, or in any article herein is true and accurate to the best of the authors' knowledge. Information on this site should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by NZ LAW Limited, or individual NZ LAW member firms for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on information published on this site. Views expressed in any article are the views of the authors individually and do not necessarily reflect the view of NZ LAW or their member firms. Information appearing on this site may only be reproduced with prior approval from NZ LAW Limited Head Office, and credit being given to the source. © NZ LAW Limited