Is this vandalism environmental activism or someone with a personal grudge?
“Committed” offenders would have been drenched as they slashed the tyres on three pivot irrigators, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, police said.
Senior Constable Craig Bennett, of Kurow, believes the attack on the irrigators occurred early on Saturday near State Highway 8 and Broken Hut Rd, just outside Omarama. Snr Const Bennett said it was too early to say if the vandalism was caused by an individual or several people, but the irrigators were not easily spotted from the road and fences would have been navigated by someone with intent.
Forty-four tyres, valued at up to $800 each, were slashed, he said.
Omarama farmer and pivot irrigator owner Richard Subtil was upset about the damage and urged people to come forward with information about the attack.
He believed the vandal or vandals either had a problem with him or an issue with irrigation and decided to attack his equipment.
“I really hope it’s the latter. I’m trying to understand what motivated someone to do it. If it’s a personal vendetta I’m unsure what it’s about.
At a BFEA ceremony on March 26, the Subtils also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award.
They are innovative farmers who have been recognised for their careful management of their farm and the environment. Entrants in the BEFA are also judged on their contribution to their community.
That doesn’t rule out a personal vendetta but this couple is very highly regarded which makes it less likely.
The damage could be an act of vandalism. But irrigation in this area has attracted vehement opposition so it could be the work of one or more environmental activists who object to the greening of what was an arid landscape.