Men will see murder as cheaper than divorce following the Greg Meads sentence, Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar says.

The Matamata horse breeder was yesterday sentenced to a minimum 11 years in prison for the murder of his wife Helen in September 2009 and ordered to pay $65,000 in reparation to her parents and two children.

It is believed Meads read text messages unloaded from his wife's cellphone which led him to believe she was to leave him. Meads then took a loaded shotgun to their stables and shot Helen in the throat, killing her instantly.

Garth McVicar described Justice Christopher Allan's sentence as "one of the lowest sentences for murder this country has ever seen".

"It sets a dangerous precedent. It has ratcheted down the bench mark," he said.

Mr McVicar said the couple had been together for a long time and Helen had a large input into their business. A divorce settlement would have been considerable, he said.

"I know this sounds appalling, but some guys out there will see murder as cheaper than divorce."

Mr McVicar was long aware the Crown was looking at reparation for the victim's family, which he had supported.

"I know the cost the White family has been through ... [but] the level [of reparation] the judge set is appalling.

He said no other case had generated so many calls to the trust from barristers and solicitors concerned with the sentence.

"When you are getting the legal fraternity concerned then it indicates it is serious."

Mr McVicar said judges are instructed to start at 17 years for a murder sentence and adjust that down should there be other factors to take into account.

"He never admitted guilt. There were no mitigating factors. Meads only got one year more than the minimum sentence for murder," he said.

He said the trust had been working alongside Helen's family since her murder.

"We are very aware of what they are going through and very aware they are appalled."

Mr McVicar said "it is early days" for the family but appealing the sentence or taking up a private prosecution against Mr Meads for further reparations are possible options.

"There is a case history where families take out private prosecutions and have won," he said.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said the sentence was "insignificant" and the murder was an example of an already violent man escalating his violent behaviour when his partner told him she was leaving.

"It is a common pattern and calls into question Mr Mead's defence that he never intended to harm his wife," she said.

"The sentence of 11 years seems so insignificant for the brutal act of shooting someone to death, for the horror and fear Helen would have felt in the years prior to the murder as well as just before her murder, and for the lifelong grief Helen's family will have to endure."

Ms Henare told Newstalk ZB the case is a timely reminder for women in violent relationships to be prepared.

She said women need to be careful not to alert their partner to the fact they are leaving.

"That they have got a safety plan that if he was to find out, they are able to safely exit herself and the children out of the house," she said.

Ms Henare said women need to have a cellphone and someone they can call, as well as personal belongings if they need to leave in a hurry.