Farm owners lose appeal against $45k effluent fine

Posted 31/01/2019

Radio NZ website

John and Alison Vernon, of Midhirst, were sentenced in the Environment Court in July, after earlier pleading guilty to allowing untreated dairy effluent flow into a tributary of Rum Keg Creek.

A hose that the couple had disconnected from a mobile irrigator had discharged the effluent, which was allowed to pool and find its way into the creek.

The Vernons, who farm about 100 dairy cows on 144ha, appealed the sentence to the High Court in November.

The couple's counsel Patrick Mooney argued the fine was too hefty.

He told Justice Rebecca Ellis the Environment Court had been wrong in its assessment of the seriousness of the offending, did not account for the couple's remorse or their ability to pay the fine.

In her decision dismissing the appeal last month, Justice Ellis said the only seriously arguable grounds for an appeal was the couple's ability to pay.

Read the full article here.