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Published: 2010-06-09 00:00:00

Waikato By Products of Tuakau has been fined $17,500 after pleading guilty to the company’s latest offences involving discharging objectionable odour from its plant.

In a recent decision in the Auckland District Court, Judge Fred McElrea acknowledged that the offending was not deliberate and that the meat rendering and blood processing plant had spent money, and was prepared to spend more, on trying to get things right.

"I accept that it is going about matters in a responsible way and that the system it is likely to finish up with will be of high quality."

The offending had resulted from a breakdown of systems, he said.

But Judge McElrea, while indicating the "damage" done was not "vast", also noted that the interests of local residents had to be respected and taken into account.

A summary of facts from Environment Waikato, which prosecuted the company on four charges, said that between November 2008 and March last year there were 47 complaints from a cross-section of the Tuakau community of objectionable odour coming from Waikato By Products’ plant.

Smells reported included an unpleasant "8 out of 10" odour, while another complainant reported a sulphur smell so bad that a visitor queried how she could live with the stink, the summary said. Other odours reported included a "rotten flesh smell".

"All feel the odour problems have degraded their quality of life," the summary said of the complainants.

These convictions follow a 2008 prosecution against Waikato By Products by Environment Waikato for objectionable odour discharges.