Waikato farming leader says the courts appear to be treating dairy effluent breaches more harshly than some serious criminal offences.
Waikato Federated Farmers president Chris Lewis commented on a Hamilton district court judge's warning that farmers should expect bigger penalties for continuing effluent offences,
The warning was issued after a Waikato dairy farming company was fined more than $43,000 for allowing effluent ponds to overflow and pollute a waterway last year.
"I guess it is a clear warning to farmers that the court finds it unacceptable," Mr Lewis said
"But on the one hand they're willing to fine farmers and make it a criminal act and give them 40 grand fines or 100 grand fines in some instances, on the other hand, if you beat your wife up, you might get police diversion, so, what's the greater crime?"