A farmer and a family company have been convicted and fined a total of $65,750 for unlawful discharges of dairy effluent on two Waikato farms.
Ian Douglas Troughton and GT & AB Limited were convicted and sentenced by Judge David Kirkpatrick in the Auckland District Court for offences under the Resource Management Act. The discharges occurred between December 2015 and March 2016 at farms located at Patetonga and Turua.
The prosecution, brought by Waikato Regional Council, followed a complaint about effluent management practices on one of the farms in December 2015. A council inspection found that effluent had overflowed from a small sump flowing 130 metres across the paddock and into a farm drain that linked to the Piako River.
The farm had previously been inspected in 2012 by the council and Mr Troughton had been advised that the effluent storage was inadequate and at high risk of overflowing.
Council staff inspected another property owned by Mr Troughton in March 2016. A pipe was found to be discharging dairy effluent from an underpass directly into a paddock where it had formed a large pond. The effluent had also made its way to a farm drain that links to the Waihou River. Council staff gave direction to the farmer to clean up the effluent. However this was not done.
The council’s investigations manager Patrick Lynch said: “The inadequacy of the effluent management system on the first farm was clearly pointed out to the farmer some years ago but he elected to do nothing about it.
“It is disappointing that we have had to revert to prosecution to, hopefully, bring about positive behavioural change. We trust that the fines imposed here serve as a reminder to all farmers to have adequate storage for their dairy effluent and be vigilant with their management of their systems.”
I wasn’t questioning how many dairy farms were in the Waikato, and fully understand the enormity of this task. However once a non-compliant farmer IS identified the task is made 100% easier.
Part of the pollution problems we have is down to a few farmers that won’t act and carry out compliance requirements when advised and this gives all farmers a very bad name, when in fact it is a few that should where this title.
Fishing and Outdoors newspaper
The bigger issue here is once the Counciil found that ‘Mr Troughton had been advised that the effluent storage was inadequate and at high risk of overflowing‘
in 2012 is why did the Council not closely monitor it?
Why did it take 3-4 years and why did the Council wait for and act on a complaint?
Waikato Regional Council
Re your comments below:
· We were disappointed that guidance was given to Mr Troughton, as it is given to many farmers, and he elected not to act on it.
· We trusted that he would act on the advice given to him.
· There are approximately 4500 thousand dairy farms in the Waikato and we are simply not able to visit every farm on a regular basis. We are reliant on the eyes and ears of the community to make us aware of potential breaches so that we may respond accordingly, as occurred here.
· You will note that it was a proactive inspection of the second farm that found the discharges there.
Stephen Ward senior communications advisor (media)
Waikato Regional Council
Fishing and Outdoors newspaper
In this case the non-compliant farmer was identified, he was given advise as you say. Then there is a time period of 3-4 years before Council acted on a complaint made by a member of the public!!
Really, so from what you are saying Council ignored the non-compliant farmer until a complaint was made by a member of the public.
This is exactly where the problem lies.
Council are not following up on non-compliant farmers.
I would presume that the number of non-compliant farmers would be relatively small at 5% of 4500 that would be 225. Hardly a difficult task given the time period of 3-4 years!!
This shows that Council need a major shakeup on how they deal with this issue surely.
A national outdoors forum, the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) has hit out at the Minister for the Environment’s announcement that local regional councils will no longer vet the use of 1080 and that the only power to do so, will be with central government.
Co-chairman of CORANZ, conservationist and author Bill Benfield said it gave government extreme sole power to spread 1080 and brodifacoum.
“Basically it’s government wanting to ram-rod anything about poison chemicals through.”
He said the move diminished people’s right to protest at the use of these chemicals in the environment.
The move by government was to arrogantly effectively impose state control and was echoing the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s call for more 1080.
“To put things in true perspective, the PCE’s doctorate is in public policy, basically an administrator’s qualifications – not environmental,” said Bill Benfield.
Meanwhile the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust (SHOT) reacted too calling the move by Minister for the environment Nick Smith as “blindly arrogant”. SHOT convenor Laurie Collins who had many years in the use of poisons among them the first trials in the late 1950s, with 1080 in the Caples Valley at Lake Wakatipu, warned that while 1080 received most publicity due to the aerial broadcasting over thousands of acres and was a potent poison, brodifacoum was even more dangerous.
“It should not be forgotten Nick Smith and his colleague Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry were guilty of topdressing the public’s lands with 1080. It’s public property they are mistreating. The public deserve the right to have a say,” he said.
He said hunters had first hand, long term experience of the mountains and bush.
“They know and understand the ecosystem and see the damage done by 1080 with birds like moreporks, keas, falcons and others annihilated,” said Laurie Collins. “Besides 1080 and brodifacoum are shockingly cruel poisons taking days and days to kill. No creature deserves that callous treatment.”
He said the case for 1080 was unsound, often backed by commissioned, paid biassed science.
Many countries ban 1080.
Freshwater Management – Is it a farce? Should we expect more from our Politicians??
The Governments recent water reform package raises many questions, but they mostly come back to the honesty and integrity of the politicians involved, most notably Nick Smith!
Why cause this confusion over the swimmable standard? He’s even managed to confuse the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Wright, who said the changes in water quality measurement were… “very confusing”. Is it that he thinks we the public are just stupid? Or is it that once you start down a track of misinforming and generally deceptive behaviour, that you become caught up in it and have to keep going in order to maintain those earlier myths you have propagated?
Plenty of others are commenting about the current water reform package, if you remain unsure about these checkout page A38 & A39 of the Clean Water doc to see the old and new standards side by side.
I want to draw attention to another of the misleading initiative that Nick Smith has been involved in which is the Canterbury Water Management Strategy which has been implemented by the Ecan Commissioners appointed by Nick Smith after he sacked the elected Council.
North Ashburton River rated as ‘good’ for swimming
Our local Ashburton Zone Committee is advertising for a new member to provide refreshment to the committee. Accordingly ‘The zone committees are made up of people with a passion for their local area and respect for their knowledge has become a firm principle of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Allowing communities to guide our water management work gives local people genuine power. We listen to communities’ opinions and provide opportunities to discuss issues while exploring potential solutions together’
Reading through the list of current committee members I noted their interests as being mostly agricultural, irrigation or connect to such in some way, with a lone Forest and Bird member. I understand the Ashburton Council appointee is also a retired farmer.
So rather than community members the committee is made up predominantly of industry insiders who have a vested interest in water for industry purposes in the main;
Wondering how they manage to engage in the debate with so many conflicts of interest I continued to read down the page. It talks about conflict of interest: ‘Committee members must be careful that they maintain a clear separation between their personal interests and their duties as a Committee member etc etc
Still I wondered how some of these people could be involved – then right at the bottom of the page;
Usually the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 would apply, requiring Committee members to declare any potential conflict of interest where they might personally benefit from a decision of the Committee.
However the Auditor General has issued a declaration that allows zone Committee members to discuss and vote on all matters related to the development of implementation programmes to achieve the targets and goals set out in the CWMS. This ruling has been made to allow members to take part in all discussions, in order that all the views and different perspectives of the members are part of balanced decision-making on any issue.
Members of Zone Committees have been appointed from various sectors to ensure a balance across all main stakeholder interests. It is likely that at times some members may have a personal interest in an issue before the Committee. The Auditor General’s declaration allows those members to take part in the discussion and vote on these issues, in order not to impede the work being done by the Committee and because the work is in the wider interests of the people of the area.
So what does all this mean? Like many others I was concerned that the CWMS is a farce – well the above is the proof of that – We have irrigation interests, dairy interests and Federated Farmers all involved and making the recommendations about what our districts water management needs are!! They have been given the freedom to do so by firstly being selected to the zone committees and then by having the normal conflict of interest safeguards removed, so the process has no integrity…
It’s no wonder the Selwyn River and its likes are so degraded…
And this brings us back to the point I want to make – are these the standards that we as New Zealanders are happy to accept from our politicians? Did we the people ever give Nick Smith the mandate to act in this way?
My answer is no, I don’t accept this, and nor do I believe we as New Zealanders should accept this. So I am calling for better standards, and I am calling out Nick Smith – he should resign immediately.
Monday, 27 February 2017, 10:34 am
Press Release: Future Rivers
Please find our January 2017 newsletter “In The Loop” HERE
By Graham Carter
The National Party subverted democracy by sacking the elected ECAN Councillors and replaced them with Commissioners, to facilitate the grab for water and growth of industrialized dairying in Canterbury. They also made sure that minimal compliance work was done to enforce consent requirements and water takes etc. In Canterbury in 2016, there were 376 complaints to E-Can and zero prosecutions. Continue reading Central and local government corruption
By Graham Carter
Recent articles discussing our dying rivers and lakes, followed by a story about the dirty Selwyn River in North Canterbury and the news that a complaint against Greenpeace’s anti-dairying advertising was not upheld clearly point out the main offenders regarding our dirty rivers and streams.
The dairy industry through its various industry media releases have been bleating that it’s not just dairying which is quite correct, but they are the main offending group.
It must be very upsetting to dairying families to read and hear all this and feel the hatred directed at them. However while it’s good to blame the good ol farmer it’s not entirely their fault.
I believe that blame equally lies with our Regional Councils, Fertilizer companies and Fonterra. Continue reading Councils and farmers should cop the blame over water quality
New Zealand trout fishing guide Scott Murray was fishing the South Island West Coast’s Mohikinui River with guests in early December when it started hailing 1080 poison pellets. Continue reading Anglers in River Get Dumped on With “1080 Hailstones”
A dead trout in a dry Canterbury river bed – stark testimony to government’s folly.
by James Speedy
The NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers has put a hand brake on Minister for the Environment Nick Smith’s wish to hurry changes to the Resource Management Act through. In a letter to the Christchurch-based “The Press” Nick Smith argued he was a not hurrying the proposed bill of changes through Parliament. But the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers was not impressed with the minister’s denials. Continue reading Federation Says “Whoa” to Smith’s RMA Hurry
An idea has arisen from me receiving a photo of cattle trampling river banks and wading into the Tutaki Stream and talking to anglers and the sense nothing comes of it.
If you are fishing and see effluent, sediment, rubbish, stock or anything in or on the banks of rivers where it should not be, please take a photo, make a note of the name of the river, the address of the farm (or the Fonterra number if applicable), the time and date and send this to me. I am hopeful of reaching an agreement with DairyNZ and Fonterra that the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers will supply them with photos and details of any such poor practices IN RETURN for them visiting the farm, ensuring the farmer stops such practice AND agreeing a penalty regime that could include stopping milk supply. In return for this I am suggesting the NZFFA will give Dairy NZ/Fonterra first go at sorting it, as a preference to drumming up negative publicity on continued poor farming practice. If I feel this is working then I am keen to see if we can extend this approach to Beef & Lamb NZ.
We all want the same thing, fresh water and this might help a little to get us there.