Horizons Regional Council says it welcomes the sentencing of PGG Wrightson and Carrfields Livestock following a significant animal effluent discharge from the Feilding stock yards into the Makino Stream in February last year.
The prosecution case was heard by the Environment Court in Levin on Monday where Judge Brian Dwyer imposed fines of $71,250 on Carrfields and $75,000 on PGG Wrightson.
The court noted that the offending was reckless, particularly given the stock yards are largest in the southern hemisphere, as well as the significant effort by the Manawatū River Leaders' Forum to improve rivers in the Manawatū catchment.
Horizons strategy and regulation group manager Dr Nic Peet says the council takes their role as an environmental regulator seriously.
"Where appropriate we put significant matters before the court."
Dr Peet says the discharge, initially reported to Horizons' pollution hotline staff by a member of the public, was entering the Makino Stream directly from a stormwater pipe connected to the Feilding stock yards.
"The court noted that PGG Wrightson and Carrfields are large companies who had been very careless about how they managed disposal of animal effluent," said Dr Peet.
"The judge commented that commercial operators should be aware of their legal responsibilities and manage their business accordingly.
"In particular, he noted significant amenity, environmental, and cultural impacts.
"We recognise that the companies' guilty pleas were a useful acknowledgement of the offending which reduced the time and cost of prosecution."
Dr Peet said Horizons has an active compliance monitoring programme and also responds to pollution incidents.
"Another significant prosecution was adjourned today, and four further formal investigations are under way.
"Members of our community are encouraged to report any environmental incidents to our 24 hour Pollution Hotline on 0508 800 800."