Edmonds Judd

animal welfare

Over the fence

Obligations of working dog owners

There are a range of legal obligations and responsibilities associated with owning working dogs. ‘Working dogs’ are specifically defined under the Dog Control Act 1996 and include dogs used solely or principally for the purpose of herding or driving stock.

Registration and microchipping: Working dogs do not have to be microchipped unless they are kept on the farm as a family pet or used for recreational hunting. While working dogs may not need microchipping, they must be registered and wear a collar with a council-provided disc or label.

When registering a working dog, you must specify that they are a working dog. If you don’t register or micro-chip (where required) working dogs, you can be fined up to $3,000.

Dangerous dogs: If your working dog attacks a person, another animal or protected wildlife, you may be fined up to $3,000 and your dog may be destroyed. If your dog causes serious injury (or death) to a person, animal or to protected wildlife you may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to $20,000.

If your dog attacks a person or animal and no destruction order is made, your local council can still classify your dog as dangerous, meaning it must be kept within a fenced area, neutered, muzzled and kept on a leash in public places. You will also be liable for higher registration fees and cannot dispose of the dog to another person without the written consent of your local council.

Protection of working dogs: You must ensure your dogs receive proper care and attention, including sufficient food, water and adequate exercise. Failing to care for your dogs is considered an offence and you could be imprisoned for up to three months or fined up to $5,000.

Local councils also have the power to impose certain obligations regarding dog controls. Therefore, it is crucial to check your local council’s policies regarding working dogs to ensure you are compliant.

MPI: Animal welfare checks

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) regulates animal welfare and ensures the safe treatment of animals in New Zealand. Since 1 July 2023, MPI is responsible for delivering inspectorate services for all animal species in New Zealand.

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 provides the legislative framework for the care, treatment and obligations relating to animals, including when using animals for the purposes of research, testing and teaching. MPI inspectors have wide-reaching authority under the Act. This allows them to enforce the rules under the legislation and to ensure that animals are being treated and cared for properly.

In particular, section 127 of the Act authorises an inspector to enter onto private land, premises, vehicles, aircraft or ships (without a warrant) to carry out a routine inspection on an animal. The power of entry does not require an inspector to hold a belief that any offence has been committed. However, inspectors may only enter onto private land at a reasonable time and evidence must be provided to the animal’s owner of the inspector’s identity. No force must be used; entry into private dwellings or a marae can only be undertaken with a search warrant.

If nobody is present at the time of entry, the inspector must leave in a prominent place a written statement of the time and date of entry, the purpose of entry, the condition of the animals inspected, the animals removed (if any), and the address of the police station or other office to which enquiries can be made.

If an inspector has reasonable grounds to believe an animal has been mistreated, they can move that animal to a place chosen by them. Inspectors may also remove an animal if they believe it requires veterinary care or the owner is disqualified from owning animals. The animal will be kept at the chosen location until a judge orders the animal be returned to the owner, or the owner is charged and the animal is forfeited to the Crown.

Firearms Registry opened 24 June 2023

After the Christchurch terrorist attacks, the government introduced laws strengthening the management of firearm use, including establishing a Firearms Register. The Register opened on 24 June 2023.

All New Zealand firearms licence holders must now register all non-prohibited firearms, restricted weapons, pistols, major parts, prohibited firearms/magazines and pistol carbine conversion kits. Do note that firearms that do not work must still be registered.

Licence holders have until 24 June 2028 to register the items listed on the previous page. However, there are a number of activating circumstances that will require someone to register the items sooner. Examples of the activating circumstances are where a firearm is being purchased or sold, where a firearm has been lost or stolen, or where a person is applying for a new (or renewing an existing) firearms licence/endorsement.

Individual firearms licence holders do not need to register antique firearms or airguns (excluding specifically dangerous airguns). Individuals are also not required to register  ammunition in their possession, nor to record sales or purchases of ammunition to or from other firearms licence holders.

To find out more about the Firearms Registry, click here.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this newsletter. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of Edmonds Judd. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.
Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2022.     Editor: Adrienne Olsen.       E-mail: [email protected].       Ph: 029 286 3650


Over the fence

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 now amended

Wetlands have many environmental benefits; they can significantly reduce nutrient and sediment losses on farms, improve water quality, and provide a habitat for birds and fish.

In 2020, Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations were introduced. These regulations protected wetlands to preserve their environmental benefits. The initial regulations had limited consenting pathways and resource consents were not obtainable for the construction of any water storage facility that could adversely impact the extent or values of the wetland.

In January 2023, these regulations were amended to introduce new consenting pathways for the purposes of:

  • Urban development
  • Quarrying activities
  • The extraction of minerals and ancillary activities (with additional controls on coal mining)
  • Landfill and cleanfill areas, and
  • Water storage, ski area infrastructure and New Zealand Defence Force activities, that are included in the definition, and the existing National Environmental Standards for Freshwater provision for ‘specified infrastructure.’

There are certain ‘gateway tests’ under the new consent pathways that must be satisfied before consent is granted.

The effects of the activity must also be managed using the ‘effects management hierarchy.’ This addresses any adverse effects the activities may have on the extent or value of the wetland. There are also certain conditions imposed on the new consenting pathways, including the requirement that water storage infrastructures must provide significant national or regional benefits.

 

Affordable Water Reform replaces Three Waters Reform Programme

On 13 April 2023, the government announced changes to its Three Waters Reform Programme. Three Waters was introduced in 2022 to change the delivery of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater to ensure all New Zealanders have safe and reliable water infrastructure.

After a significant negative public response to the Three Waters proposal, the government has made key changes to what is now called Affordable Water Reform. These are:

  • Ten publicly owned specialised service entities rather than four
  • The entities will be based around the existing regions and will be connected to the communities that they serve
  • The entities will be owned by local councils and will be operationally and financially independent
  • Each entity will be governed by a professional board and local input will be enhanced through the regional representative group for each entity. There will be an equal number of mana whenua and council representatives on each entity’s regional representative group, and
  • The introduction of the entities will occur through a staged approach between early 2025 and 1 July 2026 at the latest.

The original Better-Off funding model was designed to support councils through the transition period and to manage the financial impacts of the reforms. The Crown will still provide Better-Off funding for the first phase ($500 million) but not for the second phase ($1.5 billion). The first phase of funding has been implemented to try to negate the financial implications that the councils face during the transition.

The latest amendments do not largely impact the Water Services Legislation Bill and the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill currently before Parliament. The government intends to pass legislation to implement these new changes before the election in mid-October.

Reaction to the changes to the government’s revised water reform programme has, it is fair to say, been mixed. It will be interesting to see how these reforms progress over the next six months before the election.

 

Cyclone Gabrielle – animal welfare management

Cyclone Gabrielle had a significant impact on farms in the North Island and left many animals stranded and in danger. This has highlighted the importance of having a disaster management plan in place which sets out what is required to keep your stock and pets safe.

When preparing for a disaster there are a range of factors to consider including:

  • What items should be included in an emergency kit, such as necessary food, medicine and water
  • Where the emergency kit will be stored so that it is accessible in the event of a disaster
  • Evacuation routes
  • Where animals can be safely stored in the event of a disaster including high points and well sheltered areas
  • What will happen with the animals while your property is restored, and
  • How will your animals be cared for if your property is damaged?

When a disaster occurs it can greatly impact the health of your animals. They are often stressed from the disaster which weakens their immune systems and increases their risk of becoming sick. As medical supplies are usually difficult to obtain following a disaster, it is important to ensure that you always have sufficient supplies on hand to keep your animals healthy.

There is also the possibility that stock feed could be damaged as a result of the disaster. Following Cyclone Gabrielle, the floodwaters caused some feed to become contaminated with sewage, bacteria, chemicals and other toxins. Moisture also increases the risk of mould.

As a part of your disaster response planning you need to consider what will happen where there is limited feed, including what animals take priority such as animals that are pregnant or newly born animals that will be at the highest risk.

 

DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this newsletter. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of Edmonds Judd. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.
Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2022.     Editor: Adrienne Olsen.       E-mail: [email protected].       Ph: 029 286 3650