Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is seeking advice on what can be done to target rustlers after the shooting of livestock on North Otago farms, and ongoing thefts elsewhere.
Mr Guy was responding to a concerned farmer at the Federated Farmers national conference in Palmerston North on Thursday, who questioned whether the current penalties for rustling were stiff enough.
"We've all seen in the last week or so where some reckless cowboys have gone on to two properties now, and caused a hell of a lot of damage," Mr Guy said.
"I'm seeking some further advice on what we might need to do in this space."
Mr Guy said Manawatu MP Ian McKelvie was working on a private members bill to do with rustling.
"In terms of 'are the penalties tough enough', I think it's not so much about the penalties, it's more about catching those who are causing all this reckless harm to farm animals, that we all find absolutely despicable," he said.
"And I'm sure, because of the New Zealand bush telegraph and the way that everyone talks in rural communities, it's only a matter of time before the police do catch up with those individuals."