Chief Justice Elias and hubby Fletcher hit with wet bus ticket over stock in lake

Investigators found no faecal material in the lake, just cow pats on the bank.

Environment Canterbury investigators say they found no evidence of faecal matter when they investigated a complaint about stock in Lake Taylor, North Canterbury.

“The investigation found no evidence of any faecal matter in the lake, only a few cow pats on the shore, and that the cows were in a paddock they usually did not have access to.”

The Lakes Station property is owned by chief Justice Sian Elias and Hugh Fletcher and has been the subject of complaints for many years over locked public accessways and unfenced stock.

“Media reports of a previous incident of stock in the lake water in 2013 was actually attributable to a neighbouring property and not The Lakes Station,” Ecan says.

“Late last week, we informed Hugh Fletcher and the farm manager of the outcome of the investigation which is to issue them an abatement notice, with no further legal action taken. The actual environmental effect of this incident was minor and we are satisfied it was an isolated incident.

“...it was an isolated incident and the farmer has expressed remorse and is taking action to ensure this can never happen again, including fencing off vulnerable areas of the lake – which is a very proactive and responsible response.

“Environment Canterbury is one of the first councils to create and implement a comprehensive set of rules around stock access. We agree that it's important there are clear rules in place, which is why we did this and they came into force in September last year.”

However the rules in the Land And Water Regional Plan seem far from decisive, and the fine is limited to $750.

Stock Exclusion 5.68 says - The use and disturbance of the bed (including the banks) of a lake, river or a wetland by stock and any associated discharge to water is a permitted activity, provided the following conditions are met: 1.The use or disturbance of the bed (including the banks) of a lake, river or wetland and any associated discharge to water is not categorised as a non-complying activity under Rule 5.70 or a prohibited activity under Rule 5.71; and 2.The use or disturbance of the bed (including the banks) of a lake or river and any associated discharge to water is at a stock crossing point that is: (a) not more than 20 m wide; and (b) perpendicular to the direction of water flow, except where this is impracticable owing to the natural contours of the riverbed or adjoining land; and (c) aligns with a constructed track or raceway on either side of the crossing point; or 3.The use or disturbance of the bed (including the banks) of a lake or river and any associated discharge to water that is not at a permanent stock crossing point does not result in: (a) pugging or de-vegetation that exposes bare earth in the bed (including the banks) of a lake or river; or (b) a conspicuous change in colour or clarity of the water, outside the Mixing Zone; or (c) cattle standing in any lake; and 4.The disturbance of a wetland does not result in a conspicuous change in colour or clarity of water, or pugging or de-vegetation that exposes bare earth.

Rule 5.70 says - Unless categorised as a prohibited activity under Rule 5.71, the use and disturbance of the bed (including the banks) of a lake, a river that is greater than 1 m wide or 100 millimetres deep (under median flow conditions), or a wetland, by intensively farmed stock and any associated discharge to water is a non-complying activity. 5.71 The use and disturbance of the bed (including the banks) of a lake or river by any farmed cattle, farmed deer or farmed pigs and any associated discharge to water is a prohibited activity in the following areas: 1.In an inanga or salmon spawning site listed in Schedule 17; or 2.Within a Group or Community Drinking-water Protection Zone as listed in Schedule 1; or 3.Within 1,000 m upstream, in the bed of a lake river, of a fresh water bathing site listed in Schedule 6; or 4.In the bed (including the banks) of a spring-fed plains river, as shown on the Planning Maps.

Environment Canterbury is directly controlled by the government via its commissioners appointed in 2010 to oust elected councillors in 2010.

The legislation and Parliamentary explanations at the time state the role of commissioners is to further economic imperatives.

Want to listen to the day's hottest stories, plus interviews and panel discussions? Stream NBR Radio's latest free 40-minute podcast from iHeartRadioTunein, or iTunes.

20 comments
Login in or Register to view & post comments