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Waikato farm fined for dairy run-off

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/06/2017
Cows on New Zealand farm © Getty Images Cows on New Zealand farm

A Waikato dairy farm has been fined $52,500 for allowing dairy effluent to run into local waterways.

Cazjal Farm Limited's Wharepuhunga farm had earlier received seven convictions for breaching the Resource Management Act between June and October 2016.

It was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court this week.

The offending began when the farm was converted to a dairying operation and complaints were made to the Waikato Regional Council about dairy run-off entering streams on the property, the council said.

Its investigators found the farm converted to an intensive dairy operation in early 2014 and, on occasion, would milk over 1000 cows, creating large volumes of dairy effluent.

With high rainfall in the area and steep farmland, a large amount of infrastructure was needed to capture the run-off, the council said.

"Unfortunately, a woefully inadequate storage facility was in place, meaning that discharges of dairy effluent into the environment were inevitable," the council's investigations manager Patrick Lynch said.

Despite warnings from the council, the company did not install adequate facilities to catch the run-off until after it was charged and four separate discharge incidents had been identified, the council said.

In his sentencing decision on Thursday, Judge David Kirkpatrick acknowledged the large cost of farm's conversion to intensive dairying and of building the infrastructure to capture the run-off.

"But it is not an acceptable approach to move some of that cost on to the environment by delaying the installation of a complete effluent disposal system," he said.

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