Two former company directors and a third person are seeking a discharge without conviction after hundreds of tonnes of tyres were illegally stockpiled in Waihi and Kawerau.
Jonathon Spencer and Alan Merrie and his daughter, Angela Merrie, pleaded guilty to two charges of contravening an abatement notice in the District Court at Tauranga on Monday.
The Merries were both former directors of Ecoversion Logistics but each remained involved in the company after their individual resignations in 2015.
Spencer was also a director of Ecoversion until the company was removed from the New Zealand companies register in April 2017 after it went into liquidation. Charges against Ecoversion were withdrawn prior to today's proceedings.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council laid the charges after 1200 tonnes of tyres were found at or near a council-owned wastewater disposal site in Kawerau.
Another 900 tonnes were found dumped near Waihi Beach Quarry.
The offending was committed between November 2, 2015, and March 29, 2016.
The summary of facts revealed that on October 8, 2014, Ecoversion Logistics entered into a contract with the Kawerau District Council to lease council-owned land at Spencer Ave, Kawerau.
The lease was to run for two years and Ecoversion Logistics moved at least 1200 tonnes of tyres onto the site with the intention of establishing a tyre-recycling plant.
In May 2015, the company also moved about 900 tonnes of tyres onto a Waihi Beach Rd leased site after it entered into a tyre-removal contract with the Hamilton City Council.
Two separate abatement notices were issued to Ecoversion Logistics and the other defendants regarding the tyres.
All the tyres stored at the Waihi Quarry site were removed and disposed of in October last year and a significant numberof the tyres at the Kawerau site were removed in December.
However, it was only early yesterday that the balance was removed, the court heard.
Lawyers for the three defendants argued a criminal conviction would be out of proportion to the gravity of their clients' offending.
It would also seriously impact on their clients' personal and professional reputations, and potentially restrict their ability to travel to certain countries, the lawyers said.
The regional council's lawyer, Adam Hopkinson, argued a discharge without conviction would render the council's abatement notice system "effectively meaningless".
Mr Hopkinson said while this was not a case involving serious adverse effects on the environment, it was still a serious matter, as there was a risk of leaching over time.
Given the scale of the offending and the huge amount of time the defendants had been given to take remedial steps, a deterrent sentence was warranted, he said.
Mr Hopkinson said a fine of $30,000 for each offence was warranted for each of defendants before allowing discounts for mitigating factors.
Judge David Kirkpatrick, who did not enter any convictions, reserved his decision.