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Anger over 700 illegal rubbish dumping reports, zero prosecutions launched

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Nov 2022, 10:11am
A bed base and pallets dumped in Stuart St, Dunedin. Photo / Stephen Jaquiery, ODT
A bed base and pallets dumped in Stuart St, Dunedin. Photo / Stephen Jaquiery, ODT

Anger over 700 illegal rubbish dumping reports, zero prosecutions launched

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Nov 2022, 10:11am

Despite 700 reports of illegal rubbish dumping in the past year, the Dunedin City Council has not launched a single prosecution.

That has angered a Dunedin man, who said he went to the council with the details of an incident he witnessed in Flagstaff-Whare Flat Rd.

A council spokesman said illegal dumping, which can result in convictions or fines under the Litter Act 1979, was an ongoing issue in the city, but identifying offenders was often challenging.

The man, who does not want to be named, went to the council with information about the incident and was told it did not prosecute people for rubbish dumping.

The man said he had been willing to provide the council with an eye-witness account, a photo of the perpetrator, the registration plate number of the car involved, and a police report.

“I don’t think they were very interested in what I had to offer, considering I never got past the service desk on the phone,” he said.

He was told in most cases there was “insufficient evidence to take a case” but the council had spoken with 60 individuals over the past year.

“I’m a bit dubious about this statistic in light of what was communicated to me by the Dunedin City Council via phone, and the fact they showed no interest in my information.

“It’s not good enough — it’s poor enforcement culture.”

A council spokesman said since November 2021, the council had received more than 500 reports of illegal rubbish dumping, and about 200 reports of abandoned items on streets and footpaths.

The council had the option of warnings for first-time and minor offences, infringement notices — of up to $400 — or prosecutions for repeat offenders and more significant incidents.

“No infringement notices or prosecutions resulted in the last year,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said most incidents were small-scale, and the council’s focus was on removing dumped material and educating the public on appropriate rubbish disposal.

In the case of the Flagstaff-Whare Flat Rd incident, a contractor had visited the site and removed the rubbish.

“But there was insufficient evidence to issue an infringement notice or pursue a prosecution,” the spokesman said.

The council apologised for not informing the complainant of the outcome.

- Cas Saunders, ODT

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