Hefty fine for forestry failings

Wednesday 17 Jun 2020

DNS Products facing fine for forestry failings - Defunct forestry company DNS Forest Products Limited has been convicted and faces a fine of $124,700 for water pollution caused by poor harvesting practice at its Makiri Forest, two years ago.

In Gisborne District Court this week, Judge Brian Dwyer rejected the company’s application for a discharge without conviction. The judge indicated the fine and a reparation order of $15,000 for damage also caused to neighbouring Matuku Station, but did not impose them.

Instead the case was adjourned until July 20. News of the company’s liquidation (in May) came at short notice for legal counsels involved. Specific submisssions were required as to whether provisions in the Companies Act might preclude the penalties being imposed. The court also needed to consider whether under the circumstances it might alternatively impose a conviction and discharge, but that was not his preference, the judge said.

DNS was a commercial forest entity undertaking its core business, which must be expected to comply with best practice and to pay an appropriate commercial penalty when it fails to do so. The judge has earlier sentenced other forestry companies in this region — Juken and Aratu — for similar failings. Deterrence for bad practice is a matter of real importance, he said.

There were extensive plantings on vulnerable land and forestry operations continue on a large scale throughout this region, the judge said. Sentencings for offending such as this must be set at a level that drives compliance and deters poor practice.

DNS admitted a charge under the Resource Management Act that between June 1, 2017, and July 10, 2018, it discharged contaminant — forestry waste and sediment — on to land in circumstances where it might enter water (and did so).

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Source: Gisborne Herald


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