Ten South Otago dairy farmers or companies were collectively
fined nearly $54,000 on the second day of a mass Otago
Regional Council prosecution of dairy effluent offence
charges brought before Environment Court Judge Jeff Smith in
the Balclutha District Court yesterday.
The Otago Regional Council will pocket 90% of the fines
imposed, meaning it will get about $88,000 from nearly two
days of sentencings.
The solicitors fees and court costs imposed by Judge Smith
are not included in the total.
Fines totalling more than $61,000 were issued by Judge Smith
The theme of yesterday's hearing was again the repeated
breakdown of irrigation machines (irrigators), leaving
paddocks inundated with effluent, causing potential
Judge Smith said he did not want to sound like "a broken
record" but defendants needed to ensure they checked their
irrigators regularly and suggested some should consider
updating their entire irrigation systems.
If they were used twice a day, the irrigators needed
inspection twice a day, because they had a reputation for
"I have said it once and I will say it again: if you are
using a travelling irrigator, it will break down. That's a
The Environment Court, he said, was pushing for dairy farms
in the South to consider adopting more reliable K-line
irrigation systems and 90-day effluent storage, systems
better suited to the harsher Southern climate.
• Brookhouse Farm Ltd and director Gijsbertus Broekhuizen
(52), of Benhar, jointly admitted three charges of
discharging effluent on to land in two separate incidents
between October 1 and 12 and October 10 and 12 last year.
Counsel Chris Thomsen said there was no deliberate intention
from the defendants to cause any kind of contamination but
they may have been negligent in their actions.
Judge Smith said the first incident, involving the build-up
of effluent in a gully, was more serious than the other,
which involved an irrigator pumping effluent on to land.
On the first charge, the company was convicted and fined
$5000, solicitors fees of $113 and court costs of $130; on
the second, it was fined $4000, solicitors fees of $113,
court costs of $130 and investigation costs of $1000.
On the third charge, it was convicted and discharged but
ordered to pay solicitors fees of $113 and court costs of
Broekhuizen was convicted and fined $2000 and solicitors fees
of $113 and court costs of $130 on the first two charges and
convicted and discharged with no costs on the third offence.
• Kaitangata company director Brendon Kent Gray (37) and his
company, B. K. and D. A. Gray Ltd, both admitted two charges.
The first related to the discharge of effluent through water
into a drain on Storer Rd between September 4 and 11 last
year while the second matter involved discharging effluent
causing ponding between the same dates.
Mr Thomsen said a short lapse of concentration on Gray's
behalf led to the offending.
A much larger effluent storage tank had since been built on
the property, which had 570 cows.
Judge Smith said that again it was hard to distinguish
between Gray and the company.
The offending was "at the bottom end" of the scale and he
treated the two charges as one event, deciding the major
proportion of the blame should lie with the company.
However, Gray still had a personal liability.
On the first charge, Gray was convicted and fined $1500,
solicitors fees of $113 and court costs of $130, while he was
convicted and discharged on the second charge.
The company was convicted and fined $6500, investigation
costs of $600, solicitors fees of $113 and court costs of
$130 on the first charge and convicted and discharged on the
• Inch Clutha company Ashgrove Dairy Farms Ltd and company
director Colin John Weir (59) each admitted a charge of
discharging effluent where ponding occurred on or about
October 18 last year.
There was no evidence the ponding entered waterways, but Mr
Weir was initially aggressive when approached by council
Judge Smith said the court had to support the work of