Effort to reduce bad behaviour by shearers

Central Otago police are working with local shearing contractors in an effort to ensure future shearing seasons aren't marred by booze-fuelled brawls and other crimes.

Sergeant Simon Paget, of Cromwell, said police were called to many "out of control parties" and assaults during the shearing season, which runs from June to November.

The bad behaviour, by shearers from Southland and the North Island, culminated in a brawl in Molyneux Ave last month. They were also responsible for several drink-driving and speeding incidents, Mr Paget said. "A lot of their actions reflected poorly on our local shearers who are hard-working, law-abiding people."

These problems had not occurred during previous seasons.

A police liaison officer would work with Central Otago's main shearing contractors to ensure their staff knew what behaviour was expected from them and the consequences of not abiding by those rules.

Mr Paget was also seeking advice from the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry on the effects of alcohol and drugs on workers' safety and productivity.

The shearers' employment contracts may include a clause relating to behaviour outside work hours.

The Southland Times