Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


An Invercargill man has been fined for dumping vacuum cleaners and other rubbish in the Seaward Moss Conservation Area.

Date:  14 December 2017

An Invercargill man who dumped about 40 broken vacuum cleaners and other dangerous rubbish on conservation land has been fined a total of $1,150 and ordered to pay clean-up costs of $1,205.63.

Micheal Joseph O'Connell was convicted in the Invercargill District Court on Tuesday for arranging to deposit dangerous litter and failing to comply with requirement to provide details. He was also ordered to pay court costs, bringing the total penalty to $2,621.41.

Department of Conservation Murihiku operations manager Tony Preston says it was a good, clean outcome.

"DOC takes a hard line against illegal dumping on conservation land. In this instance, due to the magnitude of the dumping, we were really keen to get a result. Cleaning up these discarded vacuum cleaners and other rubbish sucked up a lot of time, resources and money.

"We'd like to thank Southern Transport Limited for donating skips to help with the clean-up."

The rubbish was dumped in the Seaward Moss Conservation Area, which is part of the Awarua Plain Wetland Complex – a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, over a couple of weeks in May 2017.

DOC and the Invercargill City Council worked together to home in on a suspect, and after appealing to the public and following a number of leads, were able to press charges in August.

Tony Preston says the overall penalty should act as a deterrent to others.

"DOC works hard to preserve the natural character of our environment. Dumping mountains of rubbish on conservation land is nothing short of lazy. Going to a proper landfill is not that difficult, and in this instance, would have been a whole lot cheaper for them.

"We hope this sends a message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."


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