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Livestock on the road
Livestock policies, bylaws and permits
Fees and fines
Livestock on the road
Wandering livestock can pose a significant hazard on our roads and they have caused fatal accidents in our district. If you see livestock loose or lying on our district's roads, call us immediately. Our animal control staff are available 24 hours a day - call our freephone 0800 492 452 or check out how to report a dog or animal issue.
Note that the NZ Transport Agency should be contacted for any incidents of stock wandering on state highways. Call their freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
Again, for local roads and for highways, if the situation poses an immediate threat to people's lives or safety, you can also contact the Police to report the situation (or dial *555 from a mobile phone).
Impounding, fines and retrieval
Note - if you own straying stock which damage the roads or its roadsides - or if they contribute to an accident on the road, you will be liable for the costs associated with repairing any damage - and you may face criminal charges. Your stock could also be impounded - see stock control for more information. If you need to claim back impounded stock, use our application to release impounded stock form.
Managing livestock around roads
Keep your stock away from roads - find out below about constructing a livestock underpass.
Find out what the fencing requirements are when grazing livestock on roadside boundaries.
Get a livestock permit below. If you can't install an underpass and you have to move your livestock across or along a road - you'll need one of these.
Livestock bylaws, policies and permits
Livestock Movement Bylaw 2022
Our Livestock Movement Bylaw 2022 contains our rules for moving livestock along or across public roads.
The purpose of the bylaw is to ensure the safety of road users, those moving livestock and the livestock, and protect the structure and surface of roads.
Within rural areas of the Waikato District, livestock are moved using roads as part of everyday operations of some farms. This activity has the potential to cause nuisance and create safety issues for road users.
The bylaw has different rules depending on your road classification. To identify the rules for your road, please refer to Appendix 3 in the Bylaw and the Schedule of Roads.
The movement of livestock along and across main streets and local streets, urban areas and national, regional and arterial roads, is not allowed under the bylaw.
The bylaw allows stock to be moved along or across sealed rural roads or unsealed roads with no Council permit, depending on frequency of use.
In this case, you will still need to make sure you have certain safety measures in place when moving stock, such as warning signs and flashing amber lights. You are also expected to minimise the impact of stock movements on the road surface and avoid leaving excess muck from the animals on the road once they've crossed over.
Council permits for moving stock along or across roads are generally required for roads which are classified as urban collectors, high volume sealed rural collectors and low volume sealed rural collectors.
Council permits are also required for sealed rural roads (if stock are moved five or more times per week, averaged through the year) and unsealed roads (if stock are moved more than seven times per week, averaged through the year).
There are two types of permits:
- a Livestock Crossing Permit is for taking livestock directly across the road regularly.
- a Livestock Moving Permit is for moving livestock some distance along the road in droves from one part of the farm to another. This will include creating a traffic management plan as part of the permit's conditions. Our Council staff can work with you to design your plan as part of the permit process.
- Find out more about traffic management plans in road closures, corridor access and traffic management requests.
These permits are free and they are usually issued for between one to five years, after which they are re-evaluated if you need to extend them further.
In some cases a permit will be a temporary measure until you can get a stock underpass built.
Get a Livestock Crossing Permit or a Livestock Moving Permit - you'll find them listed under 'roading' on our forms page.
If you breach the bylaw or conditions of your permit, we'll work with you to sort the problem out and help you understand the bylaw, what you need to do and why it is important. We can also revoke or suspend your permit. Prosecution is our last resort for extreme cases, including repeated breaches. If this happens, you could be fined up to $20,000.
Livestock Movement Policy 2022
Our Livestock Movement Policy (which is contained within the Bylaw above) outlines Council’s policy for subsidising the construction of livestock underpasses.
A livestock underpass is a tunnel constructed below a road which allows stock to cross underneath it without obstructing traffic or other road users above.
Underpasses also help to minimise environmental issues such as stock excrement either on the road or running off it into the soil and our waterways.
Underpasses must be constructed as required by the bylaw.
We'll help pay
To encourage the phasing out of most existing road-level stock crossings, we're offering a subsidy of up to 25 per cent of the total cost if you install an underpass for a stock road crossing in relation to your farm. How much of this you get will depend on how many vehicles use that stretch of road (based on an average daily traffic count or ADT). An ADT of 500 or more is eligible for a 25 per cent subsidy, while an ADT of 200 will receive a 10 per cent subsidy.
Call us on our freephone 0800 492 452 to discuss this, email us or request a service to find out more.
As the property owner, you're responsible for the design and installation of any underpass connecting your land under the road. However, we can provide you with the names and contact details of suitable underpass contractors if you'd like us to.
Once installed, the underpass remains part of your property even though it will be included in the road reserve area. You'll also need to provide a 'Memorandum of Encumbrance', which records the covenants you've entered into in the Council’s favour. This memorandum will then need to be registered against your property's Record of Title (formerly known as Certificate of Title).
Fees and fines
Find out more about our fees and fines in relation to livestock issues and managing livestock through permits and underpass construction. See the fees and charges schedule under 'stock control'.