Good fences: sig­nif­i­cant re­spon­si­bil­ties for ru­ral landown­ers

The Orchardist - - Contents - By John Shed­dan

If you are the landowner, it is your re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that your stock is con­strained by an ad­e­quate fence. The le­gal­i­ties of what con­sti­tutes an ad­e­quate fence, and the rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of landown­ers, can be found in the Fenc­ing Act 1978.

The Act pro­vides that an “ad­e­quate fence” is a fence that, as to its na­ture, con­di­tion, and state of re­pair, is rea­son­ably sat­is­fac­tory for the pur­pose that it serves or is in­tended to serve.

AD­E­QUATE FENC­ING

The leg­is­la­tion de­tails ex­am­ples of what is ad­e­quate in terms of a fence in ur­ban and ru­ral en­vi­ron­ments. In ru­ral ar­eas an ad­e­quate fence in­cludes:

• A sub­stan­tial seven or eight-wire fence, prop­erly strained, bat­tened, with up to two strands barbed wire, with durable posts of tim­ber, metal or con­crete, evenly spaced and not more than 5 me­tres apart.

• A sub­stan­tial nine to ten-wire fence, prop­erly strained, with or with­out bat­tens, with durable posts of tim­ber, metal or con­crete, evenly spaced and not more than 5 me­tres apart.

•A sub­stan­tial pre­fab­ri­cated (net­ting) fence, prop­erly strained, with or with­out bat­tens, with durable posts of tim­ber, metal or con­crete, evenly spaced and not more than 5 me­tres apart.

• A closed and suf­fi­cient live (elec­tri­fied) fence.

Robert Frost wrote “Good fences make good neigh­bours”, which is a great maxim by which you should farm. Is­sues and ac­ci­dents aris­ing from wan­der­ing, es­caped and un­con­trolled stock re­sult in many dis­putes, ac­ci­dents and deaths in ru­ral New Zealand.

John Shed­dan

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