A Waikato farmer has been fined just over $32,000 for illegally felling up to 70 totara trees that were nearly 100 years old.
Christopher Fraser-Jones pleaded guilty to two charges brought by the Matamata-Piako district council.
Last year he felled the trees that were on public land between the boundary of his farm at Tahuna and the Piako River.
Judge Melanie Harland took into account Fraser-Jones' guilty plea, his impeccable character and what she described as his good environmental stewardship of a block native bush on his farm.
Fraser-Jones told the court he felled the trees to stop duck hunters using them for cover because he believed a duck shooter's dog had brought a virus onto the farm that killed a third of his dairy cows.