A Hastings man will appear in court charged with careless use of a firearm after shots were fired in the vicinity of a top dressing plane at the start of duck-shooting season.
A police spokesperson said a 49-year-old Hastings man was charged with careless use of a firearm in relation to the incident on Saturday, May 7, where shots were fired in the vicinity of a top dressing plane at a Tukituki farm.
If convicted, the man could face imprisonment for up to three years or a fine not exceeding $4000 under Section 53 of the Arms Act 1983.
The spokesperson said the man has also been issued a warning for hunting without a licence during open season.
The man is scheduled to appear in Hastings District Court on September 12.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman said CAA was made aware of the incident at the time.
"A report was made by the pilot to the CAA, which we have passed to police," the spokeswoman said.
New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association executive officer Tony Michelle said he was aware of the incident.
"In recent years it certainly hasn't been a common occurrence," Michelle said.
He said he didn't know why the person involved may have allegedly discharged a firearm at an aircraft, but it would not be acceptable no matter the reason.
"It is totally unacceptable and reckless, regardless of whether the intent was malicious or the intent was something more in jest or someone having a silly moment."
He said discharging a firearm at aircraft could have serious consequences.
"In this case it didn't, but if the aircraft control services or something were damaged beyond the pilot's ability to control that aircraft then obviously it could result in quite a disastrous outcome."
He said an incident like this could also have other consequences by reflecting badly on the hunting community.
"The large majority, 99.9 per cent, of hunters are a responsible bunch of people and it would be a shame to have their reputation tarnished by either a malicious or stupid act, a brain fade moment by someone on the day."
The top dressing company that owns the aircraft and the owner of the Tuki Tuki farm where the incident took place were both approached by Hawke's Bay Today for comment, but declined as the matter is still before the court.