Farmer fined for RMA breach

A Hakataramea farm and its director have been fined $22,000 for illegally disturbing the bed of Sisters Creek and discharging sediment into the Hakataramea River.

MFS Ventures Limited and its director Gregory Nelson pleaded guilty to two charges each of breaching the Resource Management Act 1991.

The total fine for disturbing the bed of Sisters Creek was $15,000 and the total fine for the discharge of sediment into the Hakataramea River was $7,000.  The fines were split evenly between MFS Ventures Ltd and Nelson.

MFS Ventures Ltd is in the Hakataramea Valley, Kurow.  Under the direction of Nelson, the company started work at Sisters Creek in October 2016 to convert land to pasture.  In November 2016, an Environment Canterbury compliance officer visited the site and saw extensive works, including the use of heavy machinery to excavate, scrape, grade and clear the Sisters Creek riverbed.

No resource consent had been sought for this.  An abatement notice was issued on 26 November 2016, requiring the works to cease.  In January 2017 Environment Canterbury was alerted to sediment discharge in the Hakataramea River and this was found to have come from drain cleaning activities on MFS Ventures Ltd’s property.