Armer Farms (NI) Ltd admitted the charge in May in the Tauranga District Court. Sentencing was last month. The case was filed by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
The court heard the farm's effluent irrigation system failed in October 2010, resulting in dairy effluent ponding in a paddock, which then flowed across land and into a stream near the Bay of Plenty town of Maketū. The stream runs through other properties below the dairy farm, emerging at Newdicks Beach.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council pollution prevention manager Nick Zaman says the dairy industry had been working hard to give farmers advice on their legal responsibilities to protect waterways.
"This sort of event is really discouraging for all the farmers and industry partners striving to exceed expectations, and for the farmers and farm owners who comply with their resource consents. Unfortunately, others fail to take the responsibility they owe the community.
"It's unfortunate this has come before the court because the unlawful discharge of dairy effluent is easily avoidable with the proper maintenance and checks in place.
"While we would prefer there were no prosecutions, we hope today's sentence serves as a reminder to others that the courts, council and wider community will not tolerate the pollution of our environment.”
The council was contacted by a member of the public via its pollution hotline.
Armer has been a Fonterra director since 2006. As well as owning dairy farms in the North Island, he is a majority shareholder in Dairy Holdings, one of the country’s largest commercial dairy farmers. In the 2010-11 season, the company produced 14.1 million kgMS from about 43,400 cows.