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Published: 2016-03-17 00:00:00

Two related Waikato companies have been fined a total of $64,525 following a poorly executed forestry harvesting operation near the Waitomo Caves.

The charges which Corboy Forest Management Limited and Corboy Earthworks Limited were convicted of recently in Hamilton District Court included illegally disturbing the bed of a river and discharging sediment to watercourses. 

The prosecution was brought by Waikato Regional Council and concerned a forestry harvest operation that occurred between December 2013 and May 2014 at a dry stock property approximately seven kilometres from the Waitomo Caves.

The court heard that council staff inspected the farm in August 2014 and discovered recent earthworks and soil disturbance in and around watercourses that ultimately lead to the Waitomo Stream.

A subsequent council investigation revealed that environmental management during the harvest was very poorly done resulting in significant and avoidable adverse environmental effects. 

The council said the offending occurred in a sensitive environment and that watercourses in the harvest area had been heavily impacted by debris and fine sediment.  These tributaries fed volumes of sediment to the Waitomo Stream, which ultimately flows to the Waitomo Caves.

The council’s investigations manager Patrick Lynch said: “This case is very concerning as there was a complete disregard for environment controls, including complete ignorance of the industry’s own best practice guidelines. This is a sensitive and world famous catchment. It is exactly this kind of reckless activity that the Resource Management Act is designed to stop.”