Two "cavalier" farming companies have been stung $60,000 for breaches of the Resource Management Act.
Tui Glen Farm Ltd and Walling Family Farms Ltd were fined $32,000 and $28,000 respectively after pleading guilty to seven offences under the RMA.
The two companies share common directors and were subject to a joint prosecution by Waikato Regional Council.
Their offending occurred in 2010 and 2011 and related to unlawful earthworks on two farms located at Maungatautari and Otorohanga.
The earthworks were carried out in "high risk" erosion areas and without adequate erosion and sediment controls.
Abatement notices were issued by the regional council and the prosecution included charges relating to not complying with the notices.
Judge Melanie Harland said the companies were involved in earthmoving contracting and should have been aware of the resource consent process.
The judge said the offending showed a "rather cavalier attitude" toward the issue of sediment and erosion control.
Speaking afterwards, council's investigations and complaints manager Patrick Lynch said the two companies should have engaged the council before starting the earthworks.
"By applying for the appropriate resource consent they could have been guided to carry out the works in such a way as to have minimised any potential effect on the environment," he said. It had been "very fortunate" that there had been limited actual environmental effects, Mr Lynch said.
- © Fairfax NZ News