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ACT tackles rural crime

ACT tackles rural crime

Gerry Eckhoff Tuesday, 31 May 2005 Press Releases - Rural

ACT Rural Affairs spokesman Gerry Eckhoff and Justice spokesman Stephen Franks today outlined their party’s action plan to protect farmers, their families and property from the growing danger of rural crime.

The MPs delivered ACT’s plan to tackle rural crime at a public meeting held by the party in Rotorua, which included guest speakers Agnes Nicholas, widow of murdered Hawke’s Bay farmer Jack Nicholas, and Sensible Sentencing Trust chairman Garth McVicar. The meeting was chaired by Reporoa farmer Peter Bentley, himself a victim of a rural home invasion.

“There is a justified sense of insecurity among rural New Zealanders, with many concerned about a rise in offending, the 111 system and the geographical vulnerability of many rural properties,” Mr Eckhoff said.

A Federated Farmers’ report on the state of security showed that 56 percent of farmers had reported at least one on-farm incident to police over the last five years and 38 percent said their security had been breached, but had not informed the police.

“Farmers no longer feel safe in their own homes, and expect rural crime to skyrocket if the Labour Government’s land access plan proceeds. Rural New Zealand can be safe in the knowledge that ACT will repeal any legislation that strips farmers of their property rights,” Mr Eckhoff said.

Mr Franks said he was determined to see his amendments to the Arms Act, which would protect people allow who use firearms to protect their families and property against intruders, become law.

Eighty-two percent of farmers in the Federated Farmers’ report said they would take action to defend their property.

“Inadequate rural policing and geographical isolation means that farmers must be allowed to use force to protect themselves and their property against unwelcome intruders,” Mr Franks said.

“ACT is 100 percent committed to tackling the problem of rural crime, because unlike the two tired, old parties - Labour and National, we think our rural communities are worth protecting,” Mr Eckhoff said.


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