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

 

Record Environmental Fine

Media Release 1 August 2008

Farm That Employed Dairy Manager of the Year Convicted with Record Environmental Fine

A record fine has been handed down by the Environment Court in Napier today to the Crafar Group dairy operation, Taharua Farm, for breaching its resource consent. Taharua Farm has been fined $37,500 after Hawke's Bay Regional Council laid charges for the discharge of dairy effluent that was well over the resource consent conditions.

This is the largest fine in New Zealand for a single dairy effluent charge. Hawke's Bay Regional Council Team Leader Compliance, Bryce Lawrence, says this sends yet another clear message to the dairy industry. "This is the second significant message from the Environment Court in Hawke's Bay this year to the dairy industry that all consent conditions are critical, and that an offence is committed regardless of whether direct effects are proven," he said.

The basis of the Taharua Farm consent was that 3000 cows were being milked. However as cows increased above that number, to around 4500 cows, the effluent volume increased accordingly. There was no request from the farm company to change the conditions of that consent. During routine compliance checks in April and November by a Regional Council compliance office, the farm manager gave incorrect information on the number of cows on the property. Taharua farm manager Frank (Sam) Webb and his wife were winners of the Central Plateau farm manager of the year title in April 2007.

The Environment Court Judge Thompson recognised that if this was not a deliberate action, it was grossly negligent. Judge Thompson acknowledged that the Taharua and Mohaka rivers are sensitive receiving environments. The rivers also have significant cultural, commercial and recreational values, and discharges over and above the nitrogen loadings lead to insidious and cumulative effects over time. Hawke's Bay Regional Council environmental monitoring has, in recent years, measured a change in the quality of the water in the Taharua River which is becoming more nutrient rich.

These effects may be as a result of dairy shed effluent spreading, as well as the cumulative effects of land use within the catchment. The Mohaka River has been subject to a Conservation Order since 2004 which recognises its outstanding amenity and intrinsic values. Judge Thompson also noted that Taharua Farm is a large corporate farm. He said at the time of the offending they would have received a dairy payout of roughly a $5M based on their production of 1.1 million kilograms of milk solids.

Their 4500 cows have a value of $8M. Judge Thompson said that the fine must send a deterrent to both the general population and specifically to the Crafar Group of Companies. "The Court has acknowledged that there needs to be significant deterrent to large dairy corporate where significant profits can be realised during offending. As a Regional Council we can only repeat that a resource consent is a legally binding document, and we treat breaches of consent conditions as serious, because of the impact or potential impact on the environment, " said Mr Lawrence.

"In this case the impact would have been on the Taharua River and the iconic Mohaka River."

Mr Lawrence noted that only last week, the Minister for the Environment Hon Trevor Mallard announced the Government had appointed a four-person board of enquiry to hear submissions on a proposed national policy statement which will guide councils on water quality. Mr Mallard had said that they would be looking at the science around dairying and what is clear is that the rate of intensification, unchecked, will just not be able to continue. Mr Mallard said that in some areas, dairy expansion might not be able to continue.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Election Season: Scoop Launches New Q&A Website

Any Questions is a Q & A website where New Zealanders can ask the questions of political parties in the lead up to the election. This is part of our “Opening the Election” initiative.

It’s an easy way to find out party positions and allows you to view candidates’ answers side by side. It’s also a way for you to make your voice heard this election, and get the parties talking about the things that are important to you. More>>

 

Shiny And Chrome: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election