Tararua dairy farmer sentenced for breaches under the RMA

Horizons Regional Council acknowledges the sentencing of Huka Views Limited and its director Derek Berendt earlier this week when they appeared before Judge Dwyer in Palmerston North’s District Court.

Horizons Regulatory Manager Greg Bevin says the defendants pleaded guilty to offences under the Resource Management Act for discharging farm dairy effluent and silage leachate to land where it may enter water and silage refuse sitting around water. The offences took place on a rural property in the Tararua District between August and October 2018.

“These discharge breaches came to light following routine consent monitoring inspections by Horizons’ compliance officers, as well as calls to our pollution hotline,” says Mr Bevin.

Judge Dwyer noted that defendant’s culpability of gross recklessness amounting to knowing omission and imposed $80,000 for the discharge offences. A further $35,000 was imposed for the breach of abatement notices. 
A discount of 10 per cent was given for a guilty plea, resulting in an overall fine of $103,500 which was split equally between the two defendants.

Mr Bevin says this case highlights the importance of farm dairy operations 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.

“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.”