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McIntyre Acquittal Welcomed

McIntyre Acquittal Welcomed

The acquittal of Paul McIntyre is a sensible and pragmatic decision that will hopefully mark the end of a stressful and expensive time for the Northland farmer, said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Mr McIntyre was yesterday acquitted of a remaining firearms charge against him in relation to shooting a burglar at his property two years ago.

Rural people are more exposed to crime involving guns, and are more often left to rely on their own resources to respond to criminal activity.

The McIntyre case highlighted the threat farmers face due to the distance of many rural properties from emergency services, and the legal minefield after reluctantly taking the initiative to protect their families and property.

"Unfortunately the government is doing nothing to improve rural security under its announced plans to allow the public free access over private land.

"Already stretched police resources will be extended even further if the Government goes ahead with its proposal to take away landowners' rights to control who can come onto their land.

"Landowners must be able to ensure the security of their family, property and business by retaining the right to say no to public access.

"In addition, the government needs to take a serious look at rural police resourcing. Rural people value their community police force and consider them to be an integral part of their safety. But with limited resources the police can’t be expected to do the impossible," Mr Pedersen said.

The McIntyre case and other high-profile examples sparked a Federated Farmers' survey which found nearly two-thirds of respondents doubted the ability of 111 call centres to generate an adequate response to a rural emergency.

"Federated Farmers has been pushing for the police to adopt a rural strategy which recognises and acts on the obvious differences between rural and urban crime, and the available responses to those crimes.

"For example, a lot of the crime carried out in rural areas -- such as stock theft, dope growing, and trespassing by hunters -- involves guns. The police should have a strategy for dealing with these differences," he said.

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