A farming company owned by Fonterra director Colin Armer has been fined $72,000 plus costs for spilling dairy effluent into a Bay of Plenty waterway.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council prosecuted Armer Farms for the unlawful discharge of effluent after an irrigation failure in October 2010 caused the effluent to pool in a Maketu paddock and flow into a nearby stream.
The effluent travelled through a number of other properties before emerging at Newdicks Beach.
The company had already admitted to the charge in the Tauranga District Court in May this year.
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Regional Council pollution prevention manager Nick Zaman said the dairy industry had been working hard to advise farmers on their legal responsibilities to protect waterways.
"This sort of event is really discouraging for all the farmers and industry partners striving to exceed expectations, and for the farmers and farm owners who comply with their resource consents. Unfortunately, others fail to take the responsibility they owe the community.''
He said it was unfortunate that the issue had to come before the courts as it was "easily avoidable'' with the proper maintenance and checks in place.
"While we would prefer that there were no prosecutions at all, we do hope today's sentence serves as a reminder to others that the courts, council, and the wider community will not tolerate the pollution of our environment.''
Zaman thanked the member of the public who had reported the spill, saying the case highlighted the community's lack of tolerance for the issue.