A Coromandel dairy farmer has been fined $52,500 for illegally discharging effluent into the environment over a three year period. It followed his second conviction for such offending.
The latest case, brought by Waikato Regional Council, concerned events between May 2010 and May 2013, at a farm near Tairua, owned by Mark Fielden Ofsoske.
Council staff inspected the farm on 6 May 2013 and discovered an effluent pond discharging dairy effluent directly into a waterway that ultimately leads to the Tairua Harbour. Subsequent enquiries revealed that the farm had been following this practice since May 2010. Mr Ofsoske also had a conviction for similar offending from the mid-1990s.
In a recently released sentencing decision, Hamilton District Court Judge Melanie Harland stated that “Given that he had previously been prosecuted for similar offending (albeit some time ago) I am satisfied that his approach was lax to the point of showing a real want of care”.
Council investigations manager Patrick Lynch said: “It is rare that we see offenders prosecuted more than once under the Resource Management Act. We are using a number of regulatory tools, including prosecution, to change unacceptable behavior. I would have thought that being prosecuted is a huge learning experience for individuals and they would do whatever they could to avoid repeating the experience.”