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$100,000 fine for dumping offence

A Pukemiro landfill owner has been fined $100,000 for illegally dumping waste and breaching an Environment Court order banning stockpiling of waste.

John Campbell, who owns Tracker Demolition, had narrowly avoided a prison term, Justice Jeremy Doogue told him at today’s District Court sentencing. Campbell had pleaded guilty to two charges of illegally dumping waste where it could contaminate water and two charges of breaching an enforcement order at the site near Huntly.

Justice Doogue said Campbell had acted with blatant disregard for the two councils’ rules and the court order, and operated solely in pursuit of his own financial gain. There had been an element of stealth in the offending, he said.

The fine was at the upper end of fines for a single defendant in an environmental prosecution.
Environment Waikato and Waikato District Council were granted an enforcement order in November 2002 requiring the company to stop disposing of unauthorised material at the site, stop lighting fires except within the dwellings, quantify and characterise the waste onsite and safely channel water around the waste.

Environment Waikato Resource Use Group Manager Chris McLay and Waikato District Council Environmental Services Group Manager Nath Pritchard said the case had been a protracted and expensive enforcement action which had been made more difficult by Campbell’s attitude.

“The penalty sends a strong message of deterrence to Mr Campbell and any like minded operators. We are pleased with the decision which effectively supports those operators who spend considerable time and resources to protect the environment and comply with the law.”
Mr Pritchard said it was an excellent example of councils working together to achieve a joint satisfactory end.

“This is a big message to the community that such a blatant disregard for planning rules doesn’t go unpunished.”

Ninety percent of the fine is paid to Environment Waikato and Waikato District Council who brought the prosecution.

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