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


$45,000 fine for water ‘theft’

$45,000 fine for water ‘theft’

An Auckland-based drystock farmer has been convicted and fined $45,000 for unlawfully taking water from a stream on his Waikato property over a three year period, including during last year’s drought.

Offending occurred even though Waikato Regional Council had ordered the farmer to stop unauthorised water takes from the stream.

William Robert Blair Coates of Remuera pleaded guilty to four charges brought under the Resource Management Act (RMA) in a sentence released by Judge Jeff Smith in the Auckland District Court this week.

The regional council took the prosecution after complaints that Coates’ Jay Road property in Reporoa was being irrigated during the 2013 nationally declared drought. Council staff found up to 20 hectares of green pasture at the property while surrounding countryside was brown and barren.

Inspections also confirmed the presence of a dam in a stream on the property enabling the unauthorised take of large volumes of water into a substantial irrigation system. It was established that the water take system had also been used over the previous two summers.

Council investigations manager Patrick Lynch said: “The RMA allows people to take water for certain purposes without the need for resource consent. However, other takes are restricted to allow for the orderly allocation of water resources. Put simply we will only achieve sustainable management of our most valuable resource by having meaningful allocation regimes in place.”

In sentencing, Judge Smith commented that “...a level of anarchy would quite quickly follow if such allocation regimes were to be abandoned in times of water stress”.

Mr Lynch added: “What is particularly concerning about this case is that an abatement notice was served on the land owner in 2010 clearly stating that he was to cease unlawfully taking water from the stream. Mr Coates elected to ignore that direction and continued to take water without regard for downstream users.

“There is also a matter of fairness at stake here. Downstream users had properly engaged in the water allocation system but had to restrict their take during the drought because of the unlawful activity upstream.

“We urge people to be aware of the regulations around water take in Waikato. Some people appear to have the misguided view that because water flows through their property it is for them to take and use as they see fit, with no regard for downstream users or the environment. That is wrong and, as in this case, the court may impose large penalties for those who do not comply with the rules.”


© 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