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Trucking company owner avoids fine after illegally dumping material containing abestos in Auckland

An Auckland small trucking business operator has been sentenced for illegally dumping building materials in Whangaparaoa.

Building materials containing asbestos dumped in Whangaparaoa. Source: Auckland Council.

Mark Fitzgerald was ordered to complete 150 hours of community work by Judge Jeff Smith in Auckland's District Council. 

Mark Fitzgerald pleaded guilty when he appeared in front of Judge Jeff Smith at the Auckland District Court on December 19 after approximately 15 cubic metres of landfill was dumped on road reserve land and private land in Arkles Bay, Whangaparaoa.

Material from the dump site was found to contain white asbestos (chrysotile) as well as lead and copper which could be harmful to the public if they were to come in contact with the substance. 

"Without someone reporting this incident, it could have sat there for years and made its way into waterways or streams," says Auckland Council spokesperson Steve Pearce.

In a statement provided by the Council, fines were estimated to begin at $20,000 with an additional $20,000 in removal fees. 

However the truck operator, who is on the domestic purposes benefit, told the court he would have no ability to pay a significant fine.

Mr Fitzgerald says he sought permission from the private property owner on Wade River Road, Arkles Bay but according to the Council the majority of the substance had been dumped on reserve land. 

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the circumstances of this case of illegal dumping was particularly bad. 

"The fact that the material disposed of illegally on public land was found to contain asbestos and metal contamination, which not only presents a risk to public and environmental health but also requires an expensive clean-up process,” he says.