Key Points:

Northland farmer Reuben Paul Hayes has been fined $20,000 in a case described by a judge as the most serious he had seen of persistent dairy effluent pollution.

Hayes admitted a charge, laid by the Northland Regional Council, of discharging animal effluent into a tributary of the Taita Stream. In the Whangarei District Court, Judge Craig Thompson was told that a council inspection in September 2005 revealed a broken pipe was discharging effluent into the stream. The pollution continued despite repeated inspections by the council.

Judge Thompson said it was impossible to accept that Hayes was not aware of the problem, and that he was reckless in his attitude.