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Decision reserved on tyre dumpers
Posted at 11:00am Tuesday 19 Sep, 2017 | By Andrew Campbell email@example.com
The final throes of a failed tyre recycling venture has played out in Tauranga District Court this week, with three directors of the company involved pleading guilty to charges relating to tyre dumps at Kawerau and Waihi Beach.
Alan Merrie of Mount Maunganui, his daughter Angela Merrie of Grey Lynn and Jonathon Spencer, also of Grey Lynn, pleaded guilty to contravening a Bay of Plenty Regional council abatement notice over the tyre dumps.
Maximum penalty is $300,000 or two years jail. The regional council prosecution is seeking only 10 per cent of that, a conviction and a fine with a starting point of $30,000 for the Merries.
Prosecutor Adam Hopkinson says there was no environmental damage from the two stockpiles, but overtime they could create a leachate containing zinc polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, cadmium and lead.
The Kawerau stockpile site was leased from Kawerau District council on October 8, 2014, with 1200 tonnes of tyres being moved onto the site in a six month period.
The Waihi stockpile happened in 2015. Ecoversion Logistics was paid $286, 235 by Hamilton city council to take away about 1000 tonnes from a failed tyre storage in Hamilton.
They couldn’t be stored at Kawerau because Ecoversion logistics was in breach of its lease, and the KDC wouldn’t allow any more tyres to be brought onto the Kawerau site.
They hired land at 597 Waihi Beach Road from May 1 2015, for three months, and moved about 900 tonnes of tyres onto the site. The remaining Hamilton tyres were sent to Taupo for ‘farm use’.
Abatement notices were issued in June 2015 regarding both sites, but withdrawn when Alan Merrie asked for a time extension.
Abatement notices were again issued in August 2015 to the three defendants regarding the tyres at both Waihi Beach and Kawerau sites, and requiring them to be removed by November 1, 2015.
When the regional council prosecution started in on March 31, 2016, no tyres had been removed from Waihi and about eight tonnes from Kawerau.
They had all been removed by the time of the sentencing hearing, says Adam, with the last of the Kawerau tyres being removed on the morning of the sentencing hearing.
Through counsel, the defendants’ pleas in mitigation are for a discharge without conviction with orders to pay costs.
Adam says the defendants have to take personal responsibility for a situation they created. And that failing to convict will negate the whole purpose of the regional council’s system of issuing abatement notices.
“If they can be ignored with impunity they lose their effectiveness.
He says the Merries took no steps at all to comply with the abatement notice.
Jonathon Spencer was the director who took that responsibility and as a result the prosecution sought a lower starting point for him of $21,000.
Claims the directors would be disadvantaged by a conviction for travel overseas and that overseas business interests would be affected were challenged.
The conviction was not of a standard that would normally prevent entrance to the USA as it was not one showing ‘moral turpitude’, says Adam.
There were no names or details of the overseas companies provided to the prosecution or the court.
Judge David Kirkpatrick reserved his decision.
The company Ecoversion Logistics was incorporated September 26 2014 under the name Kawerau Tyre Storage which was involved in the transport and storage of tyres across the north island in readiness for a tyre recycling venture to be established by Ecoversion Ltd.
Angela Merrie is a former director of Ecoversion Logistics, appointed October 20, 2014, resigned October 21 2015.
Alan Merrie is a former Ecoversion logistics director, appointed October 20, 2014, until the company was removed from the companies register in April 2017.
Alan is the sole director of Process Holdings Ltd which owned the other half of Ecoversion Logistics. Alan is an owner of Process Holdings though other companies.
The Merries and other persons were since August 2014 promoting a tyre recycling venture, first through the company Sustainable Equities Ltd, (struck off December 11, 2015 with Angela Merrie as sole director) then through Ecoversion. Ecoversion leased Kawerau District Council land at spencer Avenue on October 8 2014.