4 Jul 2012

Maori farming body fined $45,000 for discharging effluent

6:44 pm on 4 July 2012

A Bay of Plenty Maori farming body has been fined $45,000 for illegally discharging dairy effluent.

Orete Incorporation pleaded guilty in the Whakatane District Court on Wednesday to polluting a stream near Waihau Bay.

The court heard that in September last year, Bay of Plenty Regional Council received a call from a member of the public, who had observed that a stream flowing into the sea near Waihau Bay was green and smelled of effluent.

A council officer investigated and found that equipment used to spray effluent on a dairy farm owned by Orete Incorporation was faulty, and a nearby watercourse was discoloured.

Subsequent tests showed the level of pollution was substantially above the maximum allowed for safe swimming.

Judge Robert Wolff says the discharge into the environment was serious and took place over a fortnight.

He says there were aggravating features to the offending, and that Orete Incorporation has had a reactive rather than a proactive approach to the environment.