A Southland farmer has been fined more than $70,000 for trying to divert water from one of Southland's main rivers with illegal earthworks.
Adolf Hardegger and his company, Hardegger Trustees Limited, were sentenced to fines totalling $71,400 in the Invercargill District Court today.
Mr Hardegger and his company were charged individually with diverting water from the Oreti River, straightening Starvation Creek and illegally installing a culvert in the creek.
During sentencing, Judge Brian Dwyer emphasised the area was a sensitive habitat for endangered species such as the black-billed gull and galaxiid fish.
The judge also signed an enforcement order, requiring Mr Hardegger to remedy the work.