A former top New Zealand boxer started one of his biggest fights of his life yesterday seeking $1 million in damages and costs for the loss of orchards he says were ruined by emissions from the Ravensdown fertiliser manufacturing plant near Napier.
Paddy Donovan, a 1956 and 1964 Olympic Games boxer and 1962 Empire Games bronze medallist, has taken Ravensdown to the High Court in Napier over claims that he was not paid full compensation for losses he suffered due to airborne discharges of acid and fluoride from the Ravensdown plant at Awatoto.
At the start of a schedule 12-day hearing, Mr Donovan’s counsel David O’Connor acknowledged past settlements, including one of $223,000 to Mr Donovan for losses to the end of June 2004.
But he said Mr Donovan was seeking a further $862,635 plus general damages for losses to crops from 2004-2006.
Mr O’Connor said Mr Donovan denied Ravensdown claims that the later damage was caused by a spray application.
He said suggestions that the cause could have been salt spray were “nonsense”.
Mr O’Connor said other orchardists would give evidence, describing Ravensdown’s position of refusing to accept responsibility, blaming growers yet making secret settlements.