Barrow investigated again for breaches

A Horizons Regional councillor is again being investigated for resource consent breaches, just days after admitting four similar charges.

John Barrow, the councillor for Tararua, pleaded guilty in the Napier District Court last week to four charges of taking excess water for irrigating his Dannevirke dairy farm, and one charge of failing to comply with an abatement notice.

That offending took place in late 2010 and early 2011.

Horizons Regional Council confirmed yesterday that fresh allegations of taking excess water were being investigated.

"Three instances of over-abstraction are currently being investigated," a Horizons spokeswoman said.

"These were in January 2013. A determination on what, if any, action will be made once the investigation is complete."

In court last week, Barrow's lawyer, Matthew Casey, argued that a discharge without conviction would be appropriate because the offending was not deliberate and had not harmed the environment.

Prosecuting lawyer Ben Vanderkolk, acting for Horizons, said the offending had been deliberate and amounted to Barrow "thumbing his nose" at council rules and warnings.

Outside court, Barrow said he had entered guilty pleas because defending the charges would have doubled the $50,000 he had already spent on the matter.

He said he believed he could remain a councillor but there "would be some discussion with council" about that.

The council would not comment while his case was before the court.

Manawatu Standard