Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Taking on dirty dairying

Taranaki is one of the country's biggest dairying districts. And somewhat surprisingly, the Taranaki Regional Council appears to be taking on dirty dairying, with prosecutions and fines:

A dairy farmer collapsed in the dock and cried into her husband's arms after a judge slapped them with a $45,000 fine for illegally discharging untreated dairy effluent into a Taranaki creek.

John and Alison Vernon, who live and manage a 144-hectare Denbigh Rd dairy farm in Midhurst, admitted one charge each of discharging contaminants into water, a breach of the Resource Management Act.


Meanwhile, in a separate case, a husband and wife pair of company directors were fined $54,000 after admitting two charges of discharging contaminants into water.

Kevin and Diane Goble did not live at Block 8 Farm, on Block 8 Rd in Waverley, but had employed a contract milker on the site since 2016.

In both cases, farmers had let cowshit flow into streams, poisoning them. In most areas of the country, this simply isn't prosecuted: regional councils work for farmers, or view enforcement as too much work, and so take a passive role. Taranaki seems to be taking it seriously, and hopefully it will lead to an improvement in farmer behaviour.