Three illegal dumpers appeared in court on Thursday 5 July as Auckland Council took action against those responsible for illegally dumping oil drums in Manurewa and the Waitākere Ranges earlier this year.
The council filed 30 charges against three parties for offences against the Resource Management Act. Sixteen charges relate to two incidents in the Waitākere Ranges in January and March, while six are for a similar incident in Manurewa in December and eight relate to the storage of oil barrels at the home and business addresses of one of the defendants.
The maximum penalty on conviction of offenses such as oil dumping is two years' imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding $300,000 for an individual and up to $600,000 for a company.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “Laying these charges sends a clear message – there are serious consequences for those who dump their commercial waste or domestic rubbish illegally when we get evidence to prosecute them.
“Along with other Aucklanders, I’ve had a gutsful of lazy and irresponsible people who desecrate the environment and expect other ratepayers to meet the cost of picking up their waste and rubbish.
“I was particularly concerned about these dumping incidents because this looked like commercial waste and the oil in the containers dumped was especially damaging to the environment.
“I can’t comment further on the case because it is now before the Courts. I can, however, say that when we get the evidence, and the public can help with this, we will look to prosecute the offenders.
“We have set up the 0800 NO DUMP dedicated line so people can give information to us and so that Council can also clean up the rubbish more quickly which is now happening," Phil Goff said.
Steve Pearce, Auckland Council’s Manager Regulatory Compliance, said that the seriousness of the incident prompted this response from the council.
“Where offences cause significant effects or the offenders are out to make money by dumping material they have been paid to dispose of properly, we will take enforcement action including prosecution.
“There are consequences for people who blatantly disregard the environment and break the rules. The council will take serious action when it has the evidence,” Mr Pearce said.
Mayor takes aim at illegal dumping
In February, Mayor Goff announced significant new resources to tackle illegal dumping including an 0800 hotline to report dumpers, additional enforcement staff, doubling the number of surveillance cameras in hotspot areas and speeding up the process to clean up dumped material in public areas.
“Catching illegal dumpers is difficult, but the community has rallied behind the cause and council is stepping up.
“Since launching the hotline, calls to report illegal dumping are up 83 per cent compared to the same period last year. Clean up times have improved significantly with the council clearing up to 95 per cent of illegally dumped rubbish within five days of the job being logged.
“I encourage Aucklanders to report illegal dumping to 0800 NO DUMP and collect as much information as you can particularly license plate numbers. That is the sort of information that can really make the difference and can allow council to proceed to prosecution,” Phil Goff said.
Auckland Council is also trialling community education approaches including work with the Manukau Beautification Community Trust (MBCT) and Clendon Pride Hot Spot Project, which has seen a significant reduction in dumping in long term hot spot areas. Council has also worked with Makaurau Marae to take local action on dumping around Ihumatao.