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Court adjourns first hearing on poaching

A hearing relating to allegations of poaching in the region has been adjourned for four weeks.

Three people charged with a range of offences briefly appeared at Masterton District Court last week.

The charges included unlawful hunting, unlawful possession of a firearm, cruelty to animals, and entering agricultural
land with intent.

The allegations are just the most recent in a long history of poaching issues in Wairarapa coming before the courts.

Federated Farmers Wairarapa president David Hayes has previously acknowledged poaching is a long-standing issue in the region and urged people “not to be a stupid bastard going out shooting where there could be an opportunity to do it with permission and safely”.

“It’s just not safe. Not only are you killing an animal, which is terrible for the owner, but it’s dangerous,” Hayes said.

“People get hurt when firearms are used badly.”

Wairarapa police have brought a number of illegal hunting prosecutions in recent years.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $100,000 fine in New Zealand.

In 2019, three men were found guilty of poaching a $11,500 stag from a Masterton game reserve and ordered to do 50 hours community service and pay $2000 in reparation.

In 2020, police charged two men with illegal hunting after they were photographed while poaching on land near Tinui.

At the time, Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller said it was a good example of what can be achieved when poaching is reported to police.

The hearing was adjourned until 27 April.

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