Wandering animals prompt fencing warning

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Reports of 220 animals wandering on Northland's highways in the past six months have authorities warning stock owners to ensure fences are maintained to avoid a tragedy.

The NZ Transport Agency is urging Northland rural property owners to ensure their fences are in the best condition to contain their livestock and prevent them wandering on to the region's roads and highways.

There were 220 reports of wandering stock on state highways in Northland over the past six months, NZTA safety and network performance manager Tim Crow said.

The highest number of reports have been on state highways in the Far North district and in rural areas around the wider SH12 Kaikohe, SH1 Mangamuka and SH10 Kawakawa to south of Kerikeri.

Mr Crow said farm animals that wandered on to highways posed a real safety risk.

"Winter driving conditions add to the difficulty of seeing farm stock with fewer daylight hours and increased chances of fog in the mornings," he said.

From 2011 to 2015, there were two serious injury and 20 minor injury crashes reported to be the result of a collision with wandering stock in the region.

"Rural property owners are required to ensure their land is securely fenced to prevent animals from straying on to the highway. The owners of livestock are liable for any damage caused if their stock are wandering," Mr Crow said.

He said motorists could report wandering animals by phoning 0800 4 Highways.

- Northern Advocate

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