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Fish & Game Calls for Fonterra to Lift Its Game

Fish & Game Calls for Fonterra to Lift Its Game After Pollution Conviction

6 August 2015

Fish & Game says Fonterra needs to lift its game after the dairy giant was fined $174,000 for several pollution offences under the Resource Management Act.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council prosecuted Fonterra for polluting the Rangitaiki River and other waterways after several wastewater system failures at Fonterra’s Edgecumbe dairy plant.

The offences occurred several times between September 2014 and April 2015.

Fonterra pleaded guilty to six charges and was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court by Judge Smith.

Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson says the pollution is unacceptable.

“This is a wakeup call for Fonterra. The company’s managers and directors need to sit up and take notice of this conviction and the judge’s sharp criticisms of its actions.” Mr Johnson said.

“It is a very bad look for one of this country’s major companies to be prosecuted for such an offence. Fonterra should be a shining example of good environmental practice if it wants to retain its social licence to operate.

“This sort of conviction can harm New Zealand’s image and the country’s exports.

Mr Johnson said Fonterra’s shareholders deserve better.

“Leadership is becoming a critical factor across the primary sector and the best way of providing that is leading by example. Fonterra has fallen well short of that,” he said.

Bryce Johnson said that Fonterra should take note of the strong comments and criticisms in the judge’s written decision.

“When any judge says they are amazed at a big corporate’s lack of action addressing a known problem, and describes this lack of action as ‘carelessness bordering on deliberateness and negligence’, then that is a serious indictment of that company.

A recent Horizon Research public opinion survey found that 72% of adult New Zealanders think dairy companies should be required to take responsibility for the environmental performance of their contracted suppliers.

“This prosecution can only further reduce public confidence in the dairy industry being a responsible environmental guardian,” said Mr Johnson.


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