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Repeat polluter prosecuted

Tuesday, 13 September 2011 5:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has welcomed the sentencing of a repeat polluter, handed down in the Tauranga District Court today.

For the eight charges brought against Mr Lance Hori Waaka under theResource Management Act 1991, His Honour Judge Wolff imposed the maximum penalty of 400 hours community work.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman, John Cronin said the sentence should be a reminder that the Bay community would not tolerate polluting and have an expectation that people would not damage the environment.

"Council pursued this legal action against Waaka after he had repeatedly refused our requests and a court enforcement order to comply with the legislation that protects the natural assets of our region," Chair Cronin said.

"Council put to the court that Waaka was not only damaging our environment, but he was profiting from doing so, and we're pleased that the court agreed that this behaviour is unacceptable."

Waaka, 62 of Oropi Tauranga, plead guilty to eight charges in the Tauranga District Court on Tuesday 28 June 2011.

The charges relate to Waaka's business, which involved collection and disposal of rubbish at a landfill site in Waimapu Pa Road, Oropi, Tauranga.

Chair Cronin said Regional Council had reminded Waaka of his obligations under the Act in a bid to educate him on what he was required to do.  However, Council decided to prosecute Waaka because he refused on several occasions to stop dumping unauthorised waste at his site.

"It is always our preference to work with people to prevent pollution and other activities that damage our environment, our economy or our social connection, but when people refuse to do the right thing we have no hesitation in enforcing the law to protect our community," Chair Cronin said.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has a responsibility under the Resource Management Act to control the discharge (or disposal) of solids, liquids or gases to the environment. This is done through policies and rules in regional plans, and by considering applications for resource consent to dispose of waste.