Council prosecutes NZL Forestry Group Limited for RMA offences

Horizons Regional Council acknowledges today’s sentencing of NZL Forestry Group Limited who appeared before Judge Dwyer of the Environmental Court today in Palmerston North.

Horizons regulatory manager Greg Bevin says the company pleaded guilty to three offences against the Resource Management Act following a harvesting activity which had taken place on a rural property in the Tararua District between November 2018 and February 2019.

“The matter came to light following a notification to Horizons by a member of the public who had witnessed sediment contaminated water discharging from the site,” says Mr Bevin.

“The site was inspected by Horizons compliance officers.

“Two offences relating to the restrictions on use of land and a discharge of contaminants into the environment derived as a result in the contravention of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry) Regulations.

“A third offence related to a failure to comply with an abatement notice which had been issued by Horizons following a site inspection.

Judge Dwyer imposed upon the company a fine of $80,000 as a starting point which was subject to a 30 per cent reduction for the early guilty plea and good character.

Mr Bevin says this case highlights the importance for forestry operators to carry out their operations in a manner that complies with environmental regulations to ensure effects on the environment are appropriately avoided, remedied or mitigated.

“While Horizons are happy to work with resource users to achieve these goals, it is ultimately the resource users responsibility to ensure their operations are undertaken in a compliant manner. If they are not, Horizons will take appropriate action.

“Council takes their role as an environmental regulator seriously. We have an active compliance monitoring programme and also respond to pollution incidents.

“Members of our community are encouraged to report any environmental incidents to our 24 hour Pollution Hotline on 0508 800 800.”