Investigations and enforcement

We apply a range of response and enforcement procedures to environmental incidents to remediate any adverse effects and to educate those responsible. We also aim to deter offenders through prosecution and formal legal action to prevent similar incidents recurring.

If an incident or consent non-compliance involves a potentially serious environmental incident or offence, a Resource Management Officer will make a site visit. Our first priority is the safety of our officers, followed by minimising any adverse effect and then investigating the incident.

The RMA Monitoring and Compliance section can call upon expertise from other Environment Canterbury technical staff (scientists, engineers), city and district council staff and external consultants as the situation demands.

Breaching the requirements of the RMA can amount to serious criminal offending and matters are heard in the District Court. Following amendments to the RMA, a conviction can now attract imprisonment for up to two years and fines of up to $300,000 for an individual or $600,000 for a company.

In keeping with the seriousness of the penalties, the RMA Monitoring and Compliance Section has adopted appropriate investigative practices carried out to police standards, such as scene examination, evidence gathering, record keeping, file management, chain of custody for samples and evidence, and cautioning subjects before interviews for all serious environmental incidents. All activities are undertaken in accordance with Environment Canterbury's Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Guidelines.

Before a final decision on formal enforcement action is made, any recommendation is reviewed for consistency, reasonableness and fairness through an internal enforcement decision panel. An Environment Canterbury lawyer will then review the available evidence and advise whether or not there is a prima facie case. Prosecution cases are reviewed by the Crown lawyers.

If you have breached the conditions of your consent you may recieve one of the following:

  • Notice of non-compliance
  • Letter of formal warning
  • Cost recovery
  • Requesting application for a retrospective resource consent
  • Abatement notice
  • Infringement notice
  • An enforcement order from the Environment Court
  • Alternative Environmental Justice (AEJ)
  • Prosecution.

Formal enforcement decisions are made after assessing the facts of each case under four criteria:

  • Culpability of the alleged offender
  • Degree of the adverse effect on the environment
  • Significance of the incident to the community (public interest)
  • Previous history of non-compliance or offending

Types of enforcement

Formal warning

Written warnings, instructions in compliance monitoring reports, notice of non-compliance and retrospective consents are useful when an offence is minor and the individual or company is a first-time offender.

These inform the offender of the consequences of breaching the RMA and often are enough to deter any repeat offending, eliminating the need for more formal enforcement action.

The majority of incidents and non-compliances are resolved using these enforcement tools.

Abatement notice

An abatement notice is a formal written notice that the RMA specifies can be issued only by a warranted enforcement officer, requiring certain actions to be taken or to cease within a specified time where that enforcement officer believes on reasonable grounds (on the balance of probabilities) that there is or is likely to be a contravention of the RMA and/or an adverse effect on the environment.

Infringement notice

An infringement notice is a written notice of an alleged infringement offence under the RMA, which is issued in accordance with the Summary Proceedings Act.

An infringement notice requires the payment of a fee of an amount fixed by regulations. Payment of the fine does not lead to the recording of a criminal conviction.

Infringement notices are suitable for responding quickly to relatively moderate offences that do not warrant prosecution.

Enforcement order

An enforcement order is an order made by the Environment Court that may require, in the opinion of the Court, certain actions to be taken or ceased, or money to be paid, within a specified time.

An application can be made by any person to the Environment Court to issue an enforcement order and it is that Court which identifies the matters of which must be satisfied before issuing the notice.

Breaching an enforcement order issued by the Court is in itself an offence for which you may be prosecuted.

Interim enforcement order

An interim enforcement order is similar to an enforcement order and is used in circumstances where the need for the order is urgent.

Search warrants

Where Environment Canterbury has knowledge of a serious offence against the act and intends to gather evidence which could result in punitive action, legislation requires that a search warrant must be obtained.

We can apply to a registrar of the court when we believe, on reasonable grounds, that there is some item at a certain address or in a vehicle or any place, which:

  • In respect of which an offence punishable by imprisonment has been or is suspected of having been committed; and/or
  • Will be evidence of an offence punishable by imprisonment; and/or
  • Is intended to be used for the purposes of committing an offence punishable by imprisonment.
Prosecutions

Environment Canterbury undertakes prosecutions where there has been a significant contravention of the RMA. The fundamental objectives of a prosecution are to punish those involved, to act as a deterrent to other resource users, to protect the community and environment, and to provide justice to the victims of the offending.

There are four essential conditions to be met before starting a prosecution action:

  • That there is sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case
  • That it is considered to be in the public interest
  • That the environmental effect of the breach warrants court action
  • The culpability of the offender.

Environment Canterbury also takes into consideration the party’s previous environmental history of compliance.

Alternative Environmental Justice

Environment Canterbury has developed an Alternative Environmental Justice (AEJ) scheme which it applies to those incidents which are considered to be beyond the criteria of an infringement notice but fall short of the threshold for prosecution.

The scheme criteria are considered by officers in relevant situations but can also be applied for by the party being investigated. In effect the AEJ scheme aims to resolve environmental offending in an alternative forum that supplements the District Court, in a manner that allows the offender to put right the harm caused by their offending. 

All activities are undertaken in accordance with Environment Canterbury's Compliance and Enforcement Guidelines and Guidelines for implementing Alternative Environmental Justice.

Enforcement response

Abatement notices

Date Issued Details Activity Requirement Location Comply By
28/03/2017  Rutherford, Jon Scott Works in Waterways Cease & continue to cease disturbing the bed of river by excavation or cultivation Waiau Continuing Abatement Notice 
27/03/2017  Bennett, Lee Discharge to air - rural Cease & continue to cease discharge of contaminants into air from burning Turners Rd, Ouruhia

Continuing Abatement Notice 

08/03/2017  LeRoy, Michael Benny (Director) Land use Remove all end of life tyres in any form Racecourse Rd, Amberley  08/03/2017
22/02/2017  LeRoy, Michael Benny (Director) Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  LeRoy, Michael Benny  Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  Hislop, Warren Miller Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  Tyre Recycling Services NZ Ltd Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  Clark, Melodie Anne Merrie Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  2016 Tyre Shredding Ltd Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  Bendon, Peter George  Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
22/02/2017  Jamison Investments Ltd  Land use Cease the discharge of contaminants namely tyres in any form onto land. Cease storage, receiving, and depositing of tyres Racecourse Rd, Amberley  Continuing Abatement Notice 
21/02/2017  Haka Valley Irrigation Ltd CRC132165 Water take - surface Do not irrigate; land that is not within the irrigation scheme command area, illustrated in CRC132165, land that is not covered by a water supply agreement between the land owner and Haka Valley Irrigation Ltd condition 8 CRC132165 Hakataramea River  Continuing Abatement Notice 
15/02/2017   Geoff Wallace Holdings Ltd CRC080770 Dairy Cease and continue to cease; no ponding of dairy shed effluent no storage of dairy shed effluent/solids in or on structures not sealed or maintained to prevent leakage cease using third effluent pond to store dairy shed effluent until such time it is sealed Tawai Ikawai Rd, Ikawai  Continuing Abatement Notice 
09/02/2017   Haka Valley Irrigation Ltd CRC132165 Water take - surface Do not undertake the taking of water under CRC132165 to supply properties that do not meet the requirements of condition 18 of that consent Hakataramea River  Continuing Abatement Notice to 14/03/2020
09/02/2017   Deltop Dairy Ltd CRC136761 Dairy Cease & continue to cease application of dairy shed effluent that does not comply with CRC136761 Morven Beach Rd, Waimate  Continuing Abatement Notice 
01/02/2017  South Canterbury By-Products (2009) Ltd CRC070698 Discharge to air - industrial Cease discharge to air, condition 21 CRC070698 beyond the external boundary Washdyke  Continuing Abatement Notice 
18/01/2017   WHL Devondale Ltd CRC135958 Dairy Cease and continue to cease ponding of effluent Temuka  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 09/01/2017   Bowan, Mr J R & Mrs, Simpson Mr T M CRC082926.3 Water take - bore Carry out a verification test
Submit a copy of the verification test
K38/0786
Farm Road, Coopers Creek  28/02/2017
09/01/2017   Vincent, Brian & Bachelor, Murray Discharge to air - industrial Cease and continue to cease discharging sawdust into air Jellicoe Road, Timaru  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 23/12/2016   Fallgate Farm Ltd CRC970934  Water take - bore Carry out a verification test on the water measuring device
Submit a copy of the verification test K38/0663
Stewart Road, Orari  28/02/2017 
 22/12/2016   Dewhirst Land Company Ltd CRC168563  Works in Waterways Cease & continue to cease, any and all works within the bed of the Selwyn River contrary to CRC168563 and/or contrary to Section 13 RMA Selwyn River  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 21/12/2016  Baggott, Mr B L, McKay, Ms C E CRC990910.4 Discharge of contaminants to water Do not discharge diluted dairy effluent to land which may enter water, and resulting in ponding 57 Garterys Rd, Rangiora  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 21/12/2016  Baggott, Mr Lyn CRC990910.4 Discharge of contaminants to water Do not discharge diluted dairy effluent to land, water, resulting in ponding 57 Garterys Rd, Rangiora  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 19/12/2016   Keilyn Farms Ltd CRC112012  Discharge of contaminants to water Do not discharge contaminants, diluted dairy effluent, into water and that results in ponding 22 Aschens Rd, Ohoka  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 16/12/2016   Coughlan Contracting Ltd Discharge of contaminants to land where it may enter water

Cease and continue to cease, deposition of any material in, on or under the bed of the Chatterton River

Chatterton Riverbed  Continuing Abatement Notice
08/12/2016 R & P McIntosh Ltd CRC142577 Water take - surface Prohibited from taking surface water from point N33/0450 under CRC142577 Condition 3 Pahau River  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 25/11/2016  Nelson, Greg Works in Waterways Cease earthworks in th ebed of Sisters Creek Sisters Creek  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 23/11/2016   Hurst Dairying Ltd CRC142705  Water take - bore Prohibited the taking of water that does not comply with CRC142705 condition 2 Fernside Rd, Rangiora  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 23/11/2016   Leonard, Patrick Joseph
CRC992497.2
Water take - bore Prohibited the taking of water from bore K38/1089 does not comply with condition 4 or 5 of CRC992497.2 Temuka Orari Highway  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 23/11/2016   Leonard, Gary Patrick CRC992497.2  Water take - bore Prohibited from taking of water from bore K38/1089 that does not comply with CRC992497.2 conditions 4 or 5 Temuka Orari Highway  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 21/11/2016   White Gold Ltd CRC951216.1  Water take - bore Cease and continue to cease, abstraction of water, bore M36/0450 at a rate greater than 21 litres per second and a 14-day volume of 19,656 cubic metres as set out in condition 1 CRC951216.1 Ellesmere Junction Rd, Selwyn  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 17/11/2016   Riches, Mr & Mrs B L & S E Riches CRC061511  Water take - bore

Prohibited from taking water that exceeds daily volume CRC061511 condition 4 L36/0593

Leeston Dunsandel Rd, Killinchy  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 07/11/2016   Alfeld, Mr M D & Mrs L T CRC156839 Water take - bore

"Do not undertake, the taking of water from bore M36/4252
Condition 2 CRC156839"

Harmans Rd, Leeston  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 07/11/2016  The Trustees of the Estate of Vicki Anne Cowan CRC156839 Water take - bore

You must not undertake, the taking of water from bore M36/4252, condition 2 CRC156839

Harmans Rd, Leeston  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 03/11/2016   Demeter Fields Ltd CRC151322  Water take - bore Prohibited from taking water from Oakdale Stream K38/2083 K38:9329-7079 CRC151322 condition 3 Oakdale Stream  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 02/11/2016   Wade, Christopher Donald CRC030884.1  Water take - bore Prohibited to take water bore M35/5937 CRC030884.1 that does not comply with condition 3 Coldstream Rd, Rangiora  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 28/10/2016   Bagrie, Peter Dale & Anne Gayle CRC000085.1  Water take - surface Cease and continue to cease the taking of water M35/11232 Bradleys Rd, Ohoka  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 28/10/2016   Terracostosa Limited CRC168335  Water take - bore Cease and continue to cease until an adaptive management assessment has been provided condition 7 Abstraction from bore M36/5351 (does not prohibit water take condition 32, part of user group Ridge Rd, Selwyn  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 28/10/2016   Coles, Mr & Mrs B C & M A CRC011085  Land use Cease & continue to cease taking water until a water meter is installed Main Sth Rd, Christchurch  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 18/10/2016   Lancaster, Murray Gordon  Water take - bore Unauthorised abstraction of water M36/3964 Ellesmere Junction Rd, Selwyn District  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 27/09/2016   Fohn Limited  Storm water Cease & continue to cease discharge of contaminants to land Mariners Cove, Cass Bay  Continuing abatement notice 
 28/09/2016   Benkris Farm Limited CRC111076.2  Water take - bore Cease & continue to cease abstraction of water from Bores M36/7760 & M36/20625 until an adaptive management assessment has been submitted Burnham School Road, Selwyn  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 27/09/2016   Jarvis-Li, Michael Robert  Storm water Cease and continue to cease discharge to water Mariners Cove, Cass Bay  Continuing abatement notice 
 31/08/2016   Stuart Tarbotton Contractors Limited CRC143195  Works in Waterways Cease excavating gravel, sand, and other natural material that does not comply with CRC143195 Ashburton River  Continuing abatement notice 
 18/08/2016   MFS Ventures Ltd  Stock in waterways Cease allowing stock access to the bed & banks of the Hakataramea River. Cease the discharge of contaminants into water from stock accessing the bed and banks of the Hakataramea River Hakataramea Valley Rd, Hakataramea  Continuing Abatement Notice 
 18/08/2016   Solvent Rescue Limited CRC120945  Discharge to air - industrial Cease discharge of contaminants to air which is offensive or objectionable beyond the boundary Coleridge St, Christchurch  Continuing Abatement Notice 

Infringement notices

An infringement notice is a written notice of an alleged infringement offence under the RMA, which is issued in accordance with the Summary Proceedings Act.

Name of offender Incident Date Amount Incident Location
South Canterbury By-Products (2009) Ltd 23/02/2017 $750 Contravention of an abatement notice, objectionable odour beyond property boundary  Washdyke
South Canterbury By-Products (2009) Ltd 23/02/2017 $1000 Offensive & objectionable odour beyond property boundary CRC070700  Washdyke
South Canterbury By-Products (2009) Ltd 10/02/2017 $750 Contravention of an abatement notice, objectionable odour beyond property boundary   Washdyke 
South Canterbury By-Products (2009) Ltd 10/02/2017 $1000 Offensive & objectionable odour beyond property boundary CRC070698  Washdyke
Twiss, Julian 11/01/2017 $500 Permitted stock access to the riverbed of the L1  Lincoln
Schrider, Brent Thomas  13/01/2017 $750 Ponding of effluent  Temuka
WHL Devondale Ltd 13/01/2017 $750 Ponding of effluent  Temuka
Metro Advances Ltd 07/12/2016 $750 Discharge of paint wash into a sump connected to the Christchurch City Council storm water network  Christchurch 
Melhopt, Jared 05/12/2016 $300 Burning metal scraps, cans, insulation material Ohoka 
Rushbrook Farm Ltd 26/10/2016 $300 Burning prohibited materials in a farm pit  Doyleston 
Illingworth,
James William
29/11/2016 $500 Permitted stock to disturb the bed of a drain  Ashburton
Makoni,
Kofe
23/11/2016 $300 Outdoor fire in a residential area  Timaru
Ackroyd,
Leam Michael Joseph
11/11/2016 $500 Depositing domestic rubbish on the Opihi river bed  Temuka
MFS Ventures Ltd 19/10/2016 $750 Breach of an abatement notice, permitted stock to access the riverbed  Hakataramea
Crosbie,
Dean Raymond
14/10/2016 $300 Burning of contaminants, namely but not limited to wire, plastics, car engine parts, and general rubbish  Christchurch
Payne, Mark Kenneth  06/10/2016 $750 Dumping of waste including, but not limited to a blue Subaru utility vehicle, tyres, car seats, tarpaulin, at the Temuka sewerage treatment ponds  Temuka 
Van de Klundert, Jos 06/10/2016 $500 Permitted stock to disturb the bed of an unnamed stream that flows into the Porter River  Arthurs Pass 
Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass Ltd 06/10/2016 $500 Permitted stock to disturb the bed of an unnamed stream, which feeds into the Waimakariri River  Arthurs Pass 
Benkris Farms Ltd 25/09/2016 $500 You abstracted water prior to receiving acceptance of an Adaptive Management Assessment  Burnham 
Alpine View Developments Ltd 20/09/2016 $300 Burning of contaminants  Springfield 
Gilbert, Stephen 09/09/2016 $300 Burning contaminants  Christchurch 
Jersey Land Dairies Ltd 02/09/2016 $300 Burning contaminants  Waikuku 
Alpine View Developments Ltd Between 01/09/2016 & 20/09/2016 $300 Burning of contaminants  Springfield 
Jarvis-Li, Michael Robert 27/08/2016 $750 Discharge of sediment-laden water to storm water system  Cass Bay 
Jarvis-Li, Michael Robert 27/08/2016 $500 Discharge of sediment-laden water to storm water system  Cass Bay 
Juice Products New Zealand Ltd Between 12/08/2016 and 13/08/2016 $1,000 Discharge of AC300 nitric and phosphoric concentrated acid, from an industiral/trade premises onto land and subsequently into a storm water system  Timaru 
Juice Products New Zealand Ltd Between 12/08/2016 and 13/08/2016 $1,000 Discharge of AC300 nitric and phosphoric concentrated acid onto land, namely the CIP (clean in place) kitchen  Timaru 
McIntyre, Douglas Robert Between 08/08/2016 and 29/08/2016 $500 Permitted stock to disturb the bed of the Waterwheel wetlands  Twizel 
Proctor, Mathew Lee 30/07/2016 $750 Discharge of engine oil and degreaser, onto land and subsequently into the Christchurch City Council's storm water system  Christchurch 
Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd 29/07/2016 $1000 Discharge of cement to storm water system  Timaru 
Henderson, James 14/07/2016 $300 Burning vegetation, objectionable or offensive effect beyond the property boundary  Waikuku 
Combe, James 12/07/2016 $300 Burning contaminants  Christchurch 
McNaughton, Malcolm Duncan 12/07/2016 $300 Burning vegetation during winter in the Clean Air Zone  Christchurch 
Southbase Construction Ltd 06/07/2016 $750 Discharge of concrete slurry to storm water system  Christchurch 
Solvent Rescue (1999) Ltd 04/07/2016 $1,000 Discharge of an odour from the processing of waste material from an indistrial/trade premises which was objectionable beyond the property boundary CRC120945 condition 8  Christchurch 
Holloway Builders Ltd 01/07/2016 $750 Discharge of sediment-laden water to storm water system  Charteris Bay