Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Clear message to industry

Clear message to industry

The Environment Court has issued a significant sentence under the Resource Management Act (RMA) as a result of a prosecution carried out by the Auckland Regional Council against a publicly listed chemical manufacturing and disposal company.

Nuplex Industries Ltd pleaded guilty to a charge of discharging a chemical odour to air that caused nausea and headaches with staff of neighbouring sites.

ARC officers confirmed the incident after following up on complaints received from the Southdown area in Penrose on 5 June 2002. Investigation revealed that a chemical called “ethyl acrylate”, which has a strong, sharp, acrid, nauseating odour, had discharged from the site as a result of two malfunctions within the plant. Judge McElrea concluded that the malfunctions occurred as a result of the company’s failure to ensure that maintenance was carried out on equipment.

Nuplex was fined $55,000, plus costs of approximately $11,000. The fine is the largest fine issued for a single charge under the RMA. The level of fine was influenced by the fact that this was the company’s fourth environmental conviction having previously received two convictions and total penalty of $75,000 in 1998 for a similar air discharge, and a single conviction and a penalty of $17,000 in 1999 for a discharge to the local stream.

Of real significance this time were the court’s orders that the company:

Include details of the prosecution in its next annual report,

Include environmental issues on the agenda of all board meetings for the next 24 months, and

Issue a notice to all staff outlining the incident and resultant prosecution.

This is the first time the Environment Court has ordered a company as part of a conviction to include specific details regarding a prosecution in its annual report.

“We are pleased that the Court saw fit to penalise Nuplex in this manner under these circumstances,” said ARC Environment Committee chairman Brian Smith. “The ARC does not prosecute lightly, our first aim is to work constructively with companies to educate them on their responsibilities. The Council has had a series of high level discussions with the company and hopes to continue working with them to enhance the company’s environmental performance.”

The ARC believes that this judgement and sentence should send a strong message, not only to large publicly listed companies but also to all industry, that it is essential to proactively and continually ensure that they are fully compliant with environmental legislation and that they are prepared to respond immediately when incidents occur.

Councillor Smith says, “We want these industries to be successful as they perform an important and often essential part of the socio-economic needs of the Region. However they must also achieve high environmental standards in doing so. They have a responsibility to be leaders of best environmental practice.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news