Farmer fined $45,000 for breach

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014

Relevant offers

Wairarapa

Westpac small town closures leave locals feeling the bank 'doesn't care' Judge Dredd of the New Zealand bush is laying waste to rodent predators WaiBush face true test of credentials in next two heartland matches Millions of tax payer dollars spent on three Wairarapa dams based on disputed figures Police actions justified in two fatal pursuits, IPCA finds Former Wairarapa College dux to walk same halls as Byron and Darwin Out of the shadows and into the limelight for mayoral candidate Sue Fox Hayes aims to restore ratepayer confidence in political process Beautiful day gives new citizens a warm Wairarapa welcome Torrential rain hammers Wellington and Wairarapa causing slips and flooding

A dairy farmer fined $45,000 for contaminating a stream leading to an important wetland accepts he has to "carry the can", even though he was not personally responsible for the pollution.

Selwyn Donald pleaded guilty last year to a charge of allowing dairy-shed effluent from his 123-hectare farm south of Featherston to enter a drain that ultimately flows into a lagoon of Lake Wairarapa, two kilometres from the farm.

The court heard that Mr Donald was on holiday in February 2013 when the offending occurred. He had entrusted operations to relief milker Daniel Hart.

While he was away, Mr Hart found there was a broken arm on an irrigator that spread effluent on land. He disconnected the hose from the dairy shed to the irrigator and left it on the ground, from where it discharged into the drain during eight to 12 milkings of about 320 cows over four days.

The regional council estimated the total discharge at between 90,240 and 135,360 litres, and said it would have had the potential to kill anything living in the drain for a portion of its route.

A routine inspection by a regional council inspector discovered the breach.

Mr Donald took immediate measures to stop the discharge and took full responsibility.

He also said Mr Hart had been told to contact him if there were any problems. Charges against Mr Hart were withdrawn when Mr Donald pleaded guilty.

The council said in court that the lagoon was part of a "significant" wetland complex inhabited by threatened species.

In sentencing Mr Donald yesterday in Masterton, Environment Court Judge Craig Thompson said the breach constituted "serious effluent offending". He convicted Mr Donald and fined him $45,000.

Mr Donald said "carrying the can" was the right thing to do, and the case should be a "huge wake-up call" for dairy farmers: "If they do go off the farm, that they make sure their infrastructure is right."

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

How many coffees do you have a day?

5 or even more

3-4

2

1

Anything from 1-5.

Don't touch the stuff.

Vote Result

Related story: Coffee as we know it at risk of dying

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content