Farm backer has bad compliance record

16:00, Dec 09 2009

An Amberley farmer with plans to build controversial dairy farms in the Mackenzie Basin has one of the worst compliance records in Southland.

Cornelis Zeestraten, also known as Kees, is the director of Five Rivers Ltd, which wants to build seven dairy farms near Omarama, with plans to keep up to 7000 cows in cubicle stables 24 hours a day for up to eight months of the year.

Mr Zeestraten is also the director of Union Station Dairies Ltd, which owns a Tussock Creek (Central Southland) farm that was fined $25,000 by the Environment Court in August for unlawfully discharging dairy shed effluent to land.

The company was fined $5000 in 2004, and $15,000 in 2007, for similar offending.

Environment Southland compliance manager Mark Hunter said no other Southland dairy farm had been prosecuted three times.

Once convicted, a company was automatically prosecuted for further breaches, he said.


Environment Southland records show another company of which Mr Zeestraten is a former director, Southern Friesians, was also served with at least two abatement notices and an infringement notice while he was a director. His Pebbly Hills dairy farm was served with an abatement notice in 2004-05.

From his home in Amberley, Mr Zeestraten yesterday told The Southland Times compliance history should not make any difference to the consent applications being heard by Environment Canterbury (ECan).

He acknowledged there had been problems on some of his Southland farms at different times but they were inherited and not his doing, he said.

He declined to comment on his new dairy farm proposals.

ECan consents director Don Rule said it was unlikely an applicant's compliance history would be considered by the hearing panel.

The panel had to consider each application on its merit and weigh it against any potential effects on the environment, he said.

ECan was yesterday unable to provide details of Mr Zeestraten's compliance history in Canterbury.

Five Rivers is one of three applicants seeking consent from ECan; the others are Williamson Holdings and Southdown Holdings.

Each has applied for five consents.

An ECan spokeswoman said that about 600 submissions on the applications had been received from throughout the country, with most made in the past few days.

Land use consents and certification of compliance for all three companies have already been issued by the Waitaki District Council.

Its planning and consents manager David Campbell said consents for intensive farming and earthworks, certificates for irrigation on one property and cropping on the other two were granted in September and October.

Those applications were not publicly notified, he said.

The Timaru Herald