Cows in other lakes

ECan doesn't act on multiple complaints

The day before The Press had published the fact that a member of the public had photographed these cows, and that the high-country farm was majority-owned by Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and her husband Hugh Fletcher.

The most disturbing thing in the first story was not the fact that the cows were defactating in the lake - but that North Canterbury Federated Farmers President Frank Brenmuhl said allowing the cattle access to the lake was "understandable if it happened sparingly". This shows these farmers' attitude to and disregard for the environment.

The real scandal, however, was revealed in the follow-up story by Charlie Mitchell who has stayed on the topic for quite a while now - which is laudable. He revealed that there have been complaints about cows on this farm standing in Lake Taylor and in Lake Sumner twice before and that Environment Canterbury (ECan) did not take any action. Just like in the cases I described here on my website.

Instead of fining the farmer(s) drastically, it is ECan who deliver the excuses for the farmers! It is plain ridiculous.

Only public pressure can change this appalling attitude of farmers AND ECan. So if you see cattle standing in rivers and lakes, lodge a complaint with ECan AND send your photos to The Press! (Otherwise ECan will do nothing, as seems to be the rule rather than the exception.)

Here is the link to the follow-up article in The Press (27 Jan 2016):

A few essential sentences from the second article:

"Official documents showed the station has been complained about twice before, including by a tramper who witnessed a 'staggering amount of cattle' in Lake Sumner, which had left a 'disturbing amount of cow s....' "

"That complaint, in 2012, was followed seven months later by a complaint from an angler who filmed both cattle and sheep in Lake Taylor."

"ECan staff did not visit the area after either complaint, and took no action."

"There were also reports of Department of Conservation (DOC) staff having to round up stock that had roamed onto the nearby conservation island."

"ECan consents and compliance manager Marty Mortiaux said cattle were not allowed to be in the lake. [...] 'We have an officer that's investigating. There may well be an explanation that is satisfactory for them being in there and that will determine what sort of enforcement action we look at', [said Mortiaux]."

"It is understood an investigator would meet face to face with the property owners on Wednesday."

"Mortiaux said there were several penalties that could be imposed, including an abatement notice, an instant $750 fine and, in the worst case, prosecution."

"He said in 2013 there was a complaint about stock being in the lake, although he understood it was owned by different people at the time. No penalty was imposed."

Imagine, a $750 fine! The farmers will start shaking for fear of the world ending, haha!

It was also interesting to read that farmers can apply for a resource consent "to carry out the activity", meaning if you apply for your cows standing in lakes and rivers and polluting the water directly, ECan will allow it. Reminds me of me complaining about a people in Lyttelton who burnt their rubbish in the garden and engulfed entire neighbourhoods in the smoke. Instead of giving them a warning, ECan sent them an application form, so they could apply for a permit to burn their rubbish in the garden because their property might be too steep to carry the rubbish to the bins!

I wonder if ECan will recommend to Dame Elias et al. to apply for a resource consent "to carry out the activity"...

Under the headline "Cattle belonging to Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias' repeat offenders", The Press reported in a follow-up story on 27 January 2016 about cows photographed in Lake Taylor.

Only public pressure can change this appalling attitude of farmers AND ECan.

If you see cattle standing in rivers and lakes, lodge a complaint with ECan AND send your photos to The Press!


(Last update: 27 January 2016)