Two Taranaki farmers back in the spotlight for poor farming practices

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Inglewood farmer Colin Boyd, pictured here in 2015, will be sentenced on March 22, after pleading guilty to charges relating to the illegal diversion of a stream on his property.  (File photo)

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Inglewood farmer Colin Boyd, pictured here in 2015, will be sentenced on March 22, after pleading guilty to charges relating to the illegal diversion of a stream on his property. (File photo)

Two Taranaki men who have already faced fines described as the largest in the region’s environmental crime history are back in the spotlight for non-compliance or illegal actions on their farms.

Francis Mullan, of Okato, and Colin Boyd, who farms in Inglewood, both appeared in court after being sued by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) for breaching the Resource Management Act.

In Boyd’s case, he is a repeat offender and faces sentencing on March 22 after pleading guilty to four counts relating to an illegal hijacking of his Surrey Rd farm in Inglewood, near a section of the creek Mangatengehu.

New Zealand Herald reported the charges related to a period between October and November 2019.

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Three years prior to the date of the last offense, Boyd was convicted of diverting a creek on his farm in a deliberate act that significantly impacted animal life in the creek.

When convicted, he was fined $60,000.

Boyd’s resource consent compliance was also in the spotlight at Tuesday’s TRC Consent and Regulatory Committee meeting.

It holds, in collaboration with the company MI SWACO, three consents related to the exploitation of drilling waste and land storage and spreading on its Inglewood property.

A report reviewed by the committee highlighted serious compliance issues on the part of the company in terms of poor environmental and administrative performance.

“In some cases, these were repeated non-compliances on the part of the company, with the causes of the non-compliance being known and directly related to the actions and inactions of the company.”

The report says monitoring of the biology of an unnamed tributary to the Mangatengehu Stream showed that it had suffered, with a significant decline in species and population diversity.

Enforcement measures were subsequently taken.

Taranaki farmer Colin Boyd will appear in New Plymouth District Court on March 22 after pleading guilty to charges following a prosecution by Taranaki Regional Council.  (File photo)

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Taranaki farmer Colin Boyd will appear in New Plymouth District Court on March 22 after pleading guilty to charges following a prosecution by Taranaki Regional Council. (File photo)

The farm has since been closed and decommissioned, with 60 enclosures still undergoing active rehabilitation, according to the report.

Six incidents of unauthorized non-compliance were found involving Boyd, who received five Notices of Violation and one Notice of Reduction.

Regarding Mullan, he was fined $66,000 in 2015 after being found guilty in environmental court of two charges of discharging effluent into groundwater and a creek on one of his farms. .

Its history of non-compliance dates back to 1999, including poor management of effluent ponds.

A recent inspection of his Okato farm by TRC officers revealed “significant non-compliance”, according to a report filed with the council’s consents and regulation committee.

He explained how the dairy manure disposal system on Mullan’s Kahui Rd farm was not functioning as required under the terms of his resource consent.

No curtailment notice was issued at the time, but after a further inspection on January 27, enforcement action was now being considered, the report said.

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