www.stuff.co.nz. 5 May 2016
Tainui Group Holdings has outed itself as the company behind the rule breach designed to protect Lake Taupo after the regional council withheld its details.
But Waikato Regional Council has been taken to task by the Green Party for not naming the Waikato-Tainui commercial arm from the outset.
In a statement issued on Monday, council said a company and a landholder in the Lake Taupo catchment breached the rules and were issued with a formal warning.
Council farming services manager Nicole Botherway later said the company, TGH, has a right to privacy due to the low-level nature of the offending despite there being no legal precedent to withhold the name.
“Protecting the identity of companies that pollute is not the job of the regional council,” Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said.
“Good on Tainui Groups Holdings for fronting up and being a bit more honest than the Waikato Regional Council.”
TGH did no ask for anonymity and there are no rules prohibiting their identity being released, Botherway said.
“It’s our general practice not to give out names of parties who receive formal warnings or fines … However, we do name people in cases we publicise after prosecutions, provided we have the court’s permission to do so.”
TGH received the formal warning for grazing cattle at a farm north of Lake Taupo meant to be used for forestry.
The breach occurred during the winter of 2015 at Puketapu Road, about 30 kilometres west of Taupo.
A neighbour invited TGH to use the four hectare property near Marotiri which has different conditions for nitrogen loading than land used for grazing cattle.
TGH’s head of primary industries Tama Potaka said young beef cattle were on the property for three weeks.
“On becoming aware of this situation, we removed the cattle immediately and self-reported the breach to Waikato Regional Council,” Potaka said.
Members of the public also reported the breach.
Potaka said TGH recognises the obligations that come with kaitiakitanga or stewardship of land and waterways.
He said TGH apologises.
“We support the need for appropriate controls on nitrate levels and sincerely regret and apologise for our inadvertent failure to support the protections on this occasion,” he said.
“As a result of this breach we have also reviewed our processes for all stock movements including increased verification of permissions received from third parties in any given grazing situation.”