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Police – ignoring their job in Southland

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, August 12th, 2019 - 49 comments
Categories: crime, Economy, Environment, farming, law, law and "order", police, Social issues - Tags: , , ,

I’ve just been reading an article from yesterday in Stuff. “Allegations of trespassing and intimidation as Southland winter grazing protest escalates“. I think that the reporter completely missed the most important salient point – the police don’t seem to be doing their job.

The background 

Environmentalist Angus Robson, who launched a nationwide campaign against winter grazing last week, said two members of his campaign were in Southland on Saturday taking photos of “cows in mud up to their bellies” when they were approached by a farmer.

Robson would not say which part of Southland the photographers were in, but he said the farmer allegedly rammed their vehicle and then followed the environmentalists back to a property at Mossburn, in Northern Southland.

Photographing stock from a  public place like a road or verge which appears to be what was happening isn’t a problem and is in fact something that is required for any civil society.  This is (I think) one of the images or similar, obviously after recent rain. And that indicates at least one reason for this to be of interest to the public – I don’t see how anyone could justify this as being good stock handling.

Cattle in winter grazing in southland

However that is rather irrelevant to subsequent actions. 

Ramming a car is pretty clear assault and property damage – probably an offense under at the Crimes Act level if it happened at any speed. Should be pretty damn easy to establish if it happened. Just look at the vehicles.

During that time he alleges the farmer made calls to other farmers, who joined him.

He said police were called and after they left, the farmers sat at the end of the driveway of the property, “blockading the house.”

“They’re at the end of the driveway drinking stubbies now,” he said on Sunday morning.

FFS: Those allegations are just simple and obvious intimidation under at least section 21(1)(a), (b), (c), and (e) of Summary Offenses Act 1981.  

Intimidation: Section 21 of the Summary Offenses Act 1981 (click to see larger image)

The allegation is that the farmer damaged the property of the environmentalists which is an offense under (a), followed them which is an offense under (b), probably hindered them in the use of their property if he blocked the driveway at all (c), and stopped or confronted them in a public place (e).  His lynch mob buddies are probably offending against (c) if they are preventing use of the .

I don’t even see the dimitted est-while spokesperson for the ugly mob of farmers denying any of this. 

Former Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird called Stuff from outside the Mossburn property on Sunday afternoon and said at that time, about 10 or 15 farmers were “having a barbecue.”

“Police have been here on a couple of occasions. We’re not trying to intimidate them but they haven’t exited to go out and take more photos today.

“The intent is not to intimidate, if they want to come and talk, they can come and talk.”

And that last statement is clearly a blatant lie. There is absolutely no requirement for the people that this thug and his buddies has bottled up in the house to talk to them. And what this lynch mob is doing is just as clearly meant to intimidate and prevent the people in the house from taking more photos.

It simply doesn’t matter what the ‘intent’ is – that is a matter for the courts. What the police should be doing is acting on the acts. That is what their job is. And there is clearly a prima facie case against the original hothead farmer, at a bare minimum, to be charged with multiple summary offenses under section 21. He should be locked up until he sees judge because he appears to be a idiotic lunatic.

So why hasn’t that happened? I invite readers to speculate in the comments. But I suspect it is part of the very selective and timid practices of the police when it comes to dealing with activism. They are usually perfectly happy rapidly charge young or poor activists, but seem to have a completely separate set of rules about well heeled conservatives breaking the law. 

As for the barbeque at the end of the drive. Well to me that seems like it is an offense under section 21(1)(c) and maybe 21(1)(d)

The legal position around the latter is by now very well -established. In fact I helped my niece to establish in an appeal in the High Court related to 21(1)(d) more than a decade ago. She was charged under it for intimidation by loitering at a protest on a public footpath outside a shop selling animal furs.

That was the only offense that she and another activist was charged under, and personally I’m sure that the only reason she was charged was because a particular group of police at Otahuhu wanted to fraudulently obtain a search warrant on their properties, phones and computers.

As the appeal to the High Court established, simply protesting  isn’t intimidation. It costa  great deal of money to establish that. But according to Allan Baird, this isn’t a protest. According to him, it appears that this is an attempt to these idiot farmers to force the environmentalists to come out an be confronted. That is clearly intimidation under section 21(1)(d), and that is something that just isn’t allowed under section 21. 

Perhaps these foolish farmers and their subservient local police should learn the rules about what is allowed in our civil society about the balance of rights. Acting like a pack of self-entitled propertied pissed fuckwits forming a lynch mob to intimidate because others are legally observing their actions isn’t part of it.

I’d suggest that this appears to be exactly the circumstances that the private prosecutions were introduced in legislation for. If the police are unwilling to act appropriately, then do their damn job for them. File a prima facie case to the court.

49 comments on “Police – ignoring their job in Southland ”

  1. lprent 1

    Oops. I see weka did a post on this as well. Fortunately she did it from quite a different perspective. Totally shit farming

    While I have a level of farming background, I was far more outraged that the police were allowing this kind of level of intimidation.

    • weka 1.1

      Perfect having both up at the same time from two different angles.

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.2

      From personal experience lprent, having had the audacity to challenge the right of a farming neighbour to treat our tiny acre as if it were his own, none of this surprises me in the least.

      The way the local plod conducted themselves in my case completely and utterly changed my opinion of the police. Likewise the regional council and the CCA.

      I had the very good fortune to have my charge come before a Judge with an operating bullshit detector. http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/5450970/Hunting-bow-charge-dismissed

      And mine was not an isolated case, and others I've spoken to experienced the same bias from the cops and council.

  2. Potato 2

    Interesting that the spokesman for the driveway thugs has himself been fined for polluting Southland waterways

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104605695/former-southland-feds-boss-sentenced-for-effluent-spill

    • weka 2.1

      thanks, I added that to the other post. I see he went through some kind of restorative justice process. Looks like that failed.

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        Some farmers are determined recidivists. Give all farming a bad name. But people get to the forefront of any group when they are the more outspoken, determined, and can downplay anyone else who has a thoughtful approach.

        I did a search for something about Trump's early years which had an influence on his present' I think his sort of laissez faire role modelling and guidance from parents is the training ground for mindless money-men. In NZ when they are farmers and 'rugged individualists' they will defiantly and triumphantly drive their tractors up our carefully built Parliament steps, rather than adjust their behaviour as rational, responsible citizens.

    • woodart 2.2

      a large percentage of sthland farming land is now owned by corporates, so those dickheads having a barbie are being sucked into supporting many of the same corporates who have, or are in the process of forcing the barbies of there own land. its a case of turkeys voting for an early christmas, and buying the cranberry sauce.fed farmers should wake up to the fact they are speaking for a shrinking amount of farmers, and being used as dupes.

  3. Ad 3

    Drone footage will get into the web video companies and straight to EU and Asian consumers.

    This is a Fonterra and MFAT pr disaster.

    • weka 3.1

      Good. Might make them do something about it.

    • Muttonbird 3.2

      Phew. I thought you were going to say it's a PR disaster for the country too.

    • Potato 3.3

      Fonterra sent a rep down to this area earlier this year to be shown some of the worst offenders. His comment "we knew it was bad but not this bad".

      • Ad 3.3.1

        Good.

        But since they knew, the supermarkets will roast them.

        • marty mars 3.3.1.1

          ummm very little will happen imo – some cosmetic adjustment for the cameras and next year mostly business as usual – all of the battles for farmed animal welfare are like this. The win will come and it may take a while.

        • greywarshark 3.3.1.2

          I'll look in the precooked heating cabinets each time I go shopping then.

      • weka 3.3.2

        Did Fonterra do anything?

        • woodart 3.3.2.1

          yes. fonterra has just announced a whopping financial lose. apparantley its the labour gov fault…..?

  4. weka 4

    You'd think the Southland Times would have someone in Te Anau who could have gone and taken a photo.

    Conservative communities have conservative farmers, media and police.

    • Ad 4.1

      And too many hunting rifles

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        Is there a country mafia with a code of omerta in Southland? They get pretty hot about looking after what is their rights. Down south they didn’t muck around with McKenzie and killed his faithful dog too.

        I wondered if there was some cover-up in Feilding, that night-time damage and slaughter could happen, going on for months. Are the police afraid to do their job and investigate fully?

        I recall the rape and murder example in the Canadian town of The Pas, Manitoba. Police asked people to bring any evidence to them, but didn't cause any hostility by looking too hard. It was an 'outsider' who had been assaulted so apparently priority was low.

  5. marty mars 5

    Yep if they were brown or young activists the riot squad would be there – always a double standard in this country, always.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Massey's Cossacks are alive and well in 2019.

  7. Former Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird … said at that time, about 10 or 15 farmers were “having a barbecue.”

    Wot, no duelling banjos?

    • Stuart Munro. 7.1

      Pretty lousy weather for a barbeque – I don't buy it.

      • woodart 7.1.1

        sitting in yr double cab ute, drinking speights , telling dirty jokes and moaning about the rugby. taking turns farting to keep warm..kulture

  8. AB 8

    It's too narrow to view this as just a rural/farmer thing. When capital loses moral legitimacy or public support, it does not go gently into that goodnight. Are a bunch of (potential) thugs on your driveway worse than Thompson & Clark spying on you?

  9. Graeme 9

    I’d cut the plods a bit of slack here. They’ve got 15 – 20 slightly liquored farmers and probably just one cop. So they’ll make a couple of phone calls and diffuse the situation, one of those was to tip off a local journalist, and just let the thing pan out as it has.

    Cooler heads will prevail and a few are probably assisting police with their enquiries. Rural cops are generally very smart people who know their limitations.

    How this pans out in the Southland community will be the teller. My pick is that these guys may be feeling a little isolated. Not the first time a local fed farm president has been given the arse, it’s a lively organisation.

    • weka 9.1

      Rural cops in my experience are good at diffusing situations, but that doesn't mean they always do the rest of their job well. There's a level of public good here that needs to be attended to as well, that's beyond the immediate situation. A clear message needs to be sent on that.

      Looks to me like farmer Baird notified the press. Baird is the one with convictions for discharging cow shit into water ways. This cost him standing as a candidate for National, and he also resigned from his role at Fed Farmers. Stuff say he got restorative justice, I'd love to know if that affected his sentencing, but it looks to me like he hasn't learned anything. Will be interesting to see what happens if he's up before a judge again.

      I agree how this pans out in the wider community will tell us much. Environment Southland are discussing the winter cropping issues at their meeting on Wednesday.

      • Graeme 9.1.1

        Thanks for filling on the details on farmer Baird’s form, I am on the hill and doing this from my phone and didn’t want to say anything that may have been incorrect.

        Thanks to for the timing of the SDC discussion. Farmer Baird and his crew have done a fine job of pouring many many buckets of sunshine all over the issue. A very full media turnout is on the cards.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          Bloody interesting timing with the Fonterra non-payout in the news today too. Ooops.

    • lprent 9.2

      Problem is that the basis of police actions and why they get support is because they supposedly treat everyone equally before the law.

      Effectively if you think about it, what you are saying is that if a group of outraged meat worker unionists set up a picket line outside the bosses house, theh should do it pissed. Yeah and I can just see exactly what would happen then. We’d have a ‘riot’ with paddy wagons heading out from the city within minutes.

      Can you hear yourself? You sound like a damn stupid fool who doesn’t bother to think.

      There are enough issues with peoples poor perception of the police without that kind of differential.

      • weka 9.2.1

        The way I could justify the rural cops doing the job their way thing is if they do further investigations and lay charges today. I'm guessing that won't happen though. I'd also like to know how long it went on, whether the drive was blocked, and why the police didn't move them on.

    • greywarshark 9.3

      Getting an idea of what is going on about farmers in Northland and Southland. Both ends seem similar in their desire not to accept responsibility for good practice, and regard change as obtruding on their sacred practices, and costing them while not increasing profit.

      Fed Farmers Northland sounded a lively note. 16/4/2019

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/farming/news/article.cfm?c_id=195&objectid=12222766

      GE-Free Northland v Federated Farmers 26/4/2018 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1804/S00612/federated-farmers-slammed-by-judge.htm

      Farmers who actually don't farm: Northland 3/7/2018 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/07/03/137685/contract-milker-still-working-with-cows

      In Southland:

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/114577852/federated-farmers-slams-shadbolt-comments-about-cows 4 August 2019
      Comments made by Invercargill mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt that cows were like freedom campers because "they love nothing better than pooing in rivers" has riled Southland Federated Farmers president Geoff Young.

      Young has taken aim at some of Southland's civic leaders, who have recently blamed farmers for the state of the province's waterways.
      Young said most farmers are doing their best for the environment and the attack on the industry " has to stop".

      Also Fed Farmers have the money to pay their own planner – Sycamore, sounds exotic, and complain against doing anything themselves, but only the same as the rest of the community. Everyone picks on farmers; it is so unfair.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=12227569

      Opinion: Southland Water and Land Plan adversely targets farmers 3 May 2019 (Federated Farmers Southland senior policy adviser Darryl Sycamore)
      Southland Federated Farmers has identified 27 aspects of the plan that will adversely affect farming in Southland.

      Read more from Federated Farmers here.

      What is abundantly clear is farming in Southland will change as a consequence of the new plan.
      While we note there is a need for change in environmental regulations to improve water quality in some local catchments, any work has to be done in a way that brings everyone along so changes can be meaningful and the community doesn't feel disempowered by the process.

      https://www.odt.co.nz/rural-life/rural-people/change-top-southland-farmers Change at top for Southland farmers

      The retiring Fed Farmers Southland President came from Dipton. From his final address: 9 May 2018

      In his final president's report, Mr Baird said it was with mixed emotions he gave his final address as president.
      ''I have been honoured to lead this organisation over the last three years and I thank the support of the Southland executive.
      ''It is a demanding role, however it gives as well as it takes.''

      In his time as president, he said pressures had came on farming from many directions, including Mycoplasma bovis and Environment Southland's Water and Land Plan.
      Coming to the tail end of the plan, after much consideration, Federated Farmers had decided to appeal the plan, Mr Baird said.

      Stories Southland farmers can point to with pride: https://www.nzfeatrust.org.nz/great-farming-stories/c/21

    • woodart 9.4

      :lively organisation"? yeah nah. they might change the local sargeant at arms, but are still stuck in the sixties.

  10. adam 10

    And not a week ago police attacked protestors at Ihumātao.

    Who would have thunked it…

    Double standard – nope just the long term reality of NZ.

    White and money = Law, we are the law.

    Brown and poor = Law, it's to keep these degenerates in there place.

    • bwaghorn 10.1

      Have they moved the protestors on. Or are they just keeping the peace while they have the months long bbq.

      This by no means i support the knuckle dragging Southland cockies.

      • marty mars 10.1.1

        sure we believe you

        seems you still like putting the boot into land protectors – the two groups – land protectors and profit farmers couldn't be more opposite – in pretty well everything. Wake up.

      • weka 10.1.2

        the issue for me was the intimidation, the report of a car being rammed, and what the leader said to the press about just wanting to talk. They might have thought they were being funny, but I bet the people in the house weren't seeing it that way. This is miles away from what is happening at Ihumātao, on many levels.

        • bwaghorn 10.1.2.1

          of course they should be getting charged if they rammed cars etc. I have known more than a few arsholes that would fit right in the Southland farming community.

          Just pointing out that cops certainly aren't going hardline against the ihimatao protesters like adam claims .

          • weka 10.1.2.1.1

            I don't think the cops attacked the protectors, but there clearly is a double standard that we see time and again.

            • adam 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Should have known intimidation with pistols/automatic weapons is not an attack – my bad.

              http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1908/S00017/police-remove-guns-from-ihumatao-protesters-worried.htm

              • weka

                yes, I'd call that intimidation, not an attack.

                I just listened to an ER talk, where the dude told the story of his mate studying unions in Egypt and when he visited them there they told stories of being arrested and tortured. Putting that in perpsective with ER people getting arrested in the UK and being relatively safe. Admittedly his experience of that as an older white English guy is doing go be different than a young black man or an Irish man, but even so, how we describe things matters.

  11. Grey Area 11

    Thanks lprent for highlighting the apparent police inaction. It was that aspect of this shameful episode that immediately stood out for me.

    The police should uphold the law, protect citizens and apprehend law-breakers. In this case they seem to be doing none of those things.

    • tc 11.1

      National's police selectively enforce the law. Just ask Nicky hagar.

      Fed farmers seem to be aiding and abetting here. Disgraceful but not surprising.

  12. Tiger Mountain 12

    As a veteran of many a Union Picket, as well as issue based rallies etc. my experience has been that Police generally attend on twin turbo boost within minutes of getting an employer call about a Union Picket, particularly if it is an effective picket, i.e. blocking a driveway, entrance/exit way or impeding the passage of the holy ones–“shoppers”…

    Something about access to property rights gets them excited. They should have intervened sooner in the case of this apparent “BBQ Blockade” and moved the good ’ol boys on.

    Stereotyping is not a useful thing, but rural people with a little power do regularly act like this. It is what keeps poor people voting National in the countryside, “we’re blue around here mate, and if you want the contract don’t you forget it”…is the tenor of many a conversation at the provincial Lodge, Sports Club, Fire/Police Station, Business Association, School BOT.

    I helped set up a beach care group in the Far North and I received home visits from burly locals waving the letters page of the paper at me while grunting some shit. Our members were harassed when doing weed control in small groups, and one time a “convoy” of 4wds headed down the beach to intimidate us. 10 years later there is a vehicle ban on most of the applicable peninsula, spinnifex dune replanting and a strict 30kmh speed limit supported by all. Good on those supporting the Cows is all I can say!

  13. mike 13

    farmers owe a mountain of debt

    • Sacha 13.1

      Yep, these redneck munters are working for the bank while they wave their willies on the roadside.

  14. Jenny - How to Get there? 14

    Army of the poor, friends of the environment. Did I get that right?

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