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


Reconsidering Approach to Stock Truck Discharges

Media Release

Environment Southland to Reconsider its Approach to Stock Truck Discharges

Environment Southland will reconsider its use of the Resource Management Act in its approach to stock trucks discharging effluent onto roads after the District Court awarded costs against the council on a case heard last month, Chief Executive Rob Phillips said today.

Environment Judge Jeff Smith has ruled that the Council must pay $5000 towards the legal costs incurred by Euan Shearing Contracting Ltd in preparing its defence relating to an alleged discharge of effluent from a stock truck on 31 May 2011. The Council had issued a $750 infringement notice against the company, which elected to have the matter heard in the District Court. Environment Southland withdrew the prosecution and the company sought costs.

In his ruling, Judge Smith noted that the case was “novel” in that it sought to prove the principle that a discharge of effluent from a vehicle could constitute an offence under the Resource Management Act. “Rather than seeking a law change to clarify the various issues or seeking a declaration, the Regional Council used the prosecution device in conjunction with the New Zealand Police,” Judge Smith said in his ruling. “… it was clear to the Regional Council that such a prosecution was novel and untested.”

He ruled that Environment Southland must pay $5000 towards the $7000 costs plus disbursements that the company had incurred.

Mr Phillips said that a legal audit of the Council’s compliance processes was still underway, and he would not pre-empt its findings. However, he said that it was significant that Judge Smith had not specifically criticised the amendments that a compliance officer had made to an Environment Southland form which a police officer had partly filled in after inspecting the truck.

“Much has been made in the media of allegations that a staff member had altered a police document,” Mr Phillips said. “The judgement clearly refers to “a form” – I want to reiterate that this was an Environment Southland form with an Environment Southland logo on the top that both compliance officers and Police used to record information.

Mr Phillips said that animal waste leaking from trucks on to roads remained an important issue that would have to be addressed in other ways, because motorists were rightly upset at being sprayed with effluent. Action will include establishing a network of effluent dump stations around the region. The Council has set aside funds for the first effluent dump station for stock trucks to be built on a State Highway this financial year.

Last winter there was a noticeable drop in the amount of effluent reported on roads around Southland. Mr Phillips said that keeping roads clear of effluent was not a direct responsibility of Environment Southland’s, and he acknowledged the lead role that the Transport industry and Dairy NZ had played this year to educate farmers and trucking firms.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news