A polluting dairy farmer who boasted the court “is not going to get a dime out of me” has been told to pay a $103,500 fine.
Derek Aaron Berendt and his company Huka View Dairies unsuccesfully appealed against the fine they were jointly given for breaching the Resource Management Act.
He is a 50 per cent shareholder and one of two directors of the company.
He and the company admitted the same charges, relating to management of silage and effluent on an Eketāhuna farm in 2018, the day he was supposed to have a trial.
He did not, however, turn up to his sentencing.
They appealed the fine, saying it was far too large considering Berendt only took an income of $30,000 a year and the farm had run at a loss.
His lawyer argued a community based sentenced such as community detention or community work was more appropriate.
But Justice Matthew Palmer disagreed, deciding the fine did fit the crimes.
In his written decisions released on Friday, the judge noted Berendt’s conduct throughout the court case.
He did not turn up to his first pre-sentence report appointment, and told the writer of the second he blamed the offending on his neighbour.
He also told the report writer “they’re not going to get a dime out of me”.
The judge said the fine was a normal punishment for environmental cases, and was especially appropriate for Berendt due to his “consistent attitude of flouting authority”.
He disregarded warnings and had poor conduct in court and with corrections, the judge said.
“Mr Berendt has been his worst enemy.”
His behaviour and a statement he would put his farm first, raised doubts about how well he would comply with community work or detention, the judge said.
Berendt’s income may have been low, but milk solid prices had increased and the farm had a net equity of as much as $2.9 million, the judge said.
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