Feds seeks post-cordon debrief

Federated Farmers wants a debriefing with police and Fonterra after farmers were unable to return to their properties to tend stock during the hunt for fugitive gunman David Bourke.

This is not a criticism of any individual police officer, but it seems some very strange decisions were made throughout the course of this incident,” says David Hunt, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay Dairy chairperson.

“Although the two-day manhunt for fugitive David Bourke was extraordinary, such events are sadly becoming more common. You need look no further than Napier gunman Jan Molenaar’s three-day siege with police in May.

“In the case of Norsewood, however, I have to question some of the decisions made by the police when dealing with an incident in a rural area. Not allowing farmers access to their properties to milk and check on newborn calves puts the welfare of nearly every animal within the cordon in jeopardy.

“Farmers have a strict obligation to the Animal Welfare Act and codes of practice. So, too, do police or in the very least, these officers of the law must be aware of the importance of animal welfare.

Cows would have have been short of feed, they’d have been very uncomfortable when they weren’t milked on time, are likely to get mastitis because of that, and their production will be affected. Calves were left without milk too.

People’s safety must be the police’s first priority but animal welfare shouldn’t be ignored.


PMofNZ and rivettingKate Taylor have local knowledge.

7 Responses to Feds seeks post-cordon debrief

  1. pdm says:

    you mentioned in a recent posthow there was a time when every town family had some sort of access to the farming community when we (baby boomers) were growing up. The situation which arose for the farmers is a reflection of the breakdown of this.

    As we called them when I was a kid `townies’ have no conception of the requirements of rural life. Hence the situation which arose from the cordon with the Police in charge probably townies.

    Farmers are creative and resilient people. I know a number who would have been within the cordon and am sure most of them could have dealt with the fugitive as effectively as the Police had they come across him.


  2. pmofnz says:

    Commenter Sheriff has left an interesting comment about the cordon (or lack of) on my blog. I still remain unconvinced that the area was managed or searched effectively.


  3. pdm says:

    I agree PM – the Norsewood Golf Club building he was found in is no more that 500 metres from Butchers Creek where he had the accident. On the face of it it looks like he scarpered over the hill, where the original Norsewood Golf Course was, to the Manawatu River, then along the river bank under SH2 at the bridge then back up the bank to the Golf Club.

    The only issue with that is I am unsure just where he was accosted by the farmhands. However, I suspect it was probably south of the river on a property off Kopua Road near the Golf Club.

    As I said earlier he was no George Wilder or else he wanted to be found as quickly as possible.


  4. pmofnz says:


    I read one report where he was on the Hands property (looked that up on as being on Vaughan Rd). I suspect from the crash site where he pointed a gun at the copper he went straight/vertically up the hill (bush bashed?) to just behind Vaughan Rd (met and shot at farm workers?), then crossed SH2 down behind Whenahou Rd at top of 55kmh corner on SH2, then dropped back down into the river bed crossing south into the golf course as you suggest. All about 3/4 of a 500m circle, the diameter being SH2.


  5. gravedodger says:

    Imagine the outcry if one of the farmers within the cordon had in different circumstances gone big game fishing for 3 days and left the animals unattended. I accept our armed forces are somewhat fully deployed at the moment but surely there were some options to provide armed cover to allow the essential farm ops to be continued while the AOS did their thing. We are not talking about an enormous area and I think the lock down was not well planned from an animal welfare/farm management perspective and a debrief needs to address this.


  6. pdm says:

    pm – Vaughan Road would be further away than 5omm from the crash site I think. As would the Golf Club from Whenuahou road.

    Was it on Vaughan Road the farmhand was shot?

    It would be dodgy to cross SH2 near the Vaughan Road/Whenuahou intersection as the Central Hawkes Bay and Napier/Hastings Police would be arriving from that way. There is also the house right on the corner of Whenuahou Road and another only a few hundred yards down it – people would have been outside trying to see what was going on I would think. So more likelylhe went back down to the river and under the bridge where there would be more cover.

    Time will tell I guess.


  7. pdm says:

    gravedigger – I think HP will confirm that not one dairy farmer or sharemilker would leave their farm unattended for that length of time for any reason whatsoever at this time of the year.

    Except Crafers managers perhaps.


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