28 Jan 2015

Fine disappointing for the region

3:58 pm on 28 January 2015

Federated Farmers is disappointed a Taranaki farmer illegally discharged dairy effluent, leading him to receive a record fine for the region.

Opunake farmer Francis John Mullan was fined $66,000 when he appeared in the Environment Court yesterday on two charges of discharging dairy effluent into groundwater and a nearby stream.

The charges were brought by the Taranaki Regional Council, which said Mr Mullan had a history of non compliance on all eight farms he owned.

It was the third time he had been convicted since 2002.

Federated Farmers Taranaki dairy spokesperson Bryce Kaiser said Mr Mullan's actions were disappointing because most farmers had a good relationship with the Taranaki Regional Council.

"I believe the regional council only takes it to this level, it takes quite a bit of work and it works with farmers over time, they only resort to court and fines when they have difficulty resolving it in other ways," Mr Kaiser said.

"Unlike other provinces where I speak to farmers and the first thing the councils do is take you to court, or close to that."

Mr Kaiser said the council had worked with farmers over the years to improve the environment, and he believed they would rather have seen the fine spent on the dairy farm to prevent such incidents.

He did not believe the case would give dairy farmers a bad reputation in the community.

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