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Cowboy culture’ receives a horsewhipping in court

Cowboy culture’ receives a horsewhipping in court

February 22, 2006

A catalogue of repeated and blatant offences has landed a Devonport building contractor with a bill for over $76,000.

Rob Munro and Rob Munro Building and Earthmoving Contractors Limited were sentenced on ten charges at the Auckland District Court yesterday.

The array of charges were brought by North Shore City Council under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Building Act 2004, for offences which took place at three different sites, over an eight-month period in late 2004 and early 2005.

Fines totalling $73,000, a record sum for the city, were imposed on the defendant who was also ordered to pay $3,600 in costs by Judge Fred McElrea.

“This is an excellent outcome for the community and sends a clear message that flouting the rules that are there to protect the environment won’t be tolerated,” says North Shore City’s team leader compliance and monitoring, David Frith.

“Rob Munro and his company are well known to our compliance team. They have long been presenting problems in the way in which they work, showing a blatant disregard for doing things properly and within the law,” he says.

The charge sheet facing Munro and Co. included illegally clearing an area of protected bush and illegally dumping fill in Paremoremo Rd, removing a garage and two protected trees without building consent at Chippendale Cres, Birkdale and undertaking 1500sqm of illegal earthworks, five times the permitted area, as well as illegal bush clearance, at a site on Lonely Track Rd.

“Judge McElrea delivered a clear message to Mr Munro that the ‘cowboy culture’ was unacceptable and contractors have a responsibility to be familiar with the rules in their area of work,” says Mr Frith.

Warning Rob Munro that he could have faced prison and would likely be jailed if he were to repeat his offences, Judge McElrea topped-off the fine with an enforcement order requiring the builder to carry out remedial work and replanting of an area of covenanted (protected) bush cleared at the Lonely Track Rd site.

The judge advised Mr Munro that in future he should ‘not lift a finger without seeing the resource consent’.

(ends)

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