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Published: 2007-11-21 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is seeking an enforcement order to rehabilitate a protected Hauraki wetland after more than 30 hectares of vegetation was destroyed there.

The council alleges a Piako man used a bulldozer and roller crusher to clear more than 30 hectares of vegetation from the Kopuatai peat dome between April and May this year.

As a result of an investigation by the council, two charges have been laid against the Piako man and two against a Piako company.

The man charged has been ordered to stop all further work at the site until the matter has been resolved legally.

Environment Waikato will also seek an enforcement order to ensure the site is replanted and maintained until it is fully rehabilitated.

The Kopuatai peat dome, the largest remaining in New Zealand, is listed as a RAMSAR site of international significance.*

It is home to a variety of rare and protected native plants and animals, including the banded rail, marsh crake, Australasian bittern, North Island fernbird, spotless crake and black mudfish.

The man has been summonsed to appear in the Morrinsville District Court on 19 December.

The matter is now before the courts.

* Note: The RAMSAR Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The convention was developed and adopted by participating nations at a meeting in Ramsar, Iran on 2 February 1971, and came into force on 21 December 1975. New Zealand is a member of the RAMSAR convention and has six listed sites.