Green MP unhappy with WRC over chemical trespass
Waikato Regional Council has failed ratepayers, says Coromandel Green MP Catherine Delahunty after new figures showed no prosecutions despite 79 confirmed breaches of the Resource Management Act for chemical trespass.
Figures supplied to Waikato Times, under the Official Information Act, showed the regional council investigated 197 out of 198 complaints with 79 breaches confirmed but acted with one abatement notice, 16 warnings and 32 letters.
Thames farmer Ross Williams' water supply was contaminated after a neighbour's chemical spray crossed into his boundary more than 18 months ago, which initiated Ms Delahunty's probe into council handling of the chemical trespass complaints.
"In this case and many others, the council has failed in their duty," Ms Delahunty said. "They really need to take this a lot more seriously."
More than 1100 complaints have been lodged to the 12 regional authorities around the country who responded with 187 breaches confirmed in the past five years.
"Waikato is very typical which is they don't do anything. They do occasionally serve abatement notices," she said.
"There are other people who have been through chemical trespass and it's incredibly frustrating that there are tools in the Resource Management Act that allow them to go further and actually prosecute otherwise there is no real incentive."
Waikato Regional Council compliance and education manager Rob Dragten said agri-chemical spray drift made up "1 or 2 per cent" of the complaints council received and all were investigated fairly.
He said the Ross Williams complaint came two years after the event and evidence was difficult to find.
"We did what was appropriate at the time based on all of the facts," Mr Dragten said.
Spray drift could cause health problems.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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