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$60,000 In Fines Handed Down For Illegal Earthworks

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Nov 13 NZPA - Fines of more than $60,000 handed out to those responsible for illegal and environmentally damaging earthworks sends a strong signal that such offending will not be tolerated, says Environment Waikato.

Hearing the case against Calford Holdings, Tirau Earthmovers, and contractor Ronald Thomas Park in Hamilton District Court, Judge Melanie Harland agreed with the regional council that "significant negligence" was involved.

The companies each pleaded guilty to two charges of unlawful disturbance of a riverbed and two of unlawful use of land . Park also pleaded guilty to these charges, plus an extra one of unlawful use of land.

Calford was fined $33,000, Tirau Earthmovers $24,000, and Park faced fines and costs of more than $5000 and was sentenced to 300 hours community service for breaching consents at a 129-hectare dairy conversion near Tokoroa.

Environment Waikato described the defendants as grossly negligent and having a "cavalier" approach to complying with resource consents.

The court was told that the illegal way the earthworks were carried out had resulted in large amounts of sediment polluting a stream at the site on Old Taupo Rd.

Excessive sediment run-off into waterways can lead to problems such as the smothering of plant and fish life, and reductions in water quality.

Environment Waikato counsel John Munro said that the defendants acted in "blatant disregard of their obligations" under the resource consents obtained for the work.

The council's resource use programme manager Grant Blackie said that the substantial fines sent a strong signal at a time when there had been an increase in earthworks-related offending in the region.

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