"A National MP faces tough questions after joining an illegal chainsaw attack on native mangroves the day after she was re-elected to office.
Sandra Goudie joined around 120 protesters who used slashers and chainsaws to clear a mangrove patch the size of two rugby fields in Whangamata Harbour last Sunday.
Mangroves cannot be removed without resource consent, but their status has sharply divided residents, many of whom say mangroves are an eyesore and a hazard preventing the community making full use of the harbour.
Others maintain mangroves are a valuable part of the estuarine eco-system. As well as a habitat for marine life and shellfish, they reduce coastal erosion by protecting the shore from waves.
Last weekend's protest marked the second Sunday in a row locals had gathered to chop the plants.
Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons ... said the removal of the mangroves showed a poor understanding of their role in coastal eco-systems.
"We seem to be back, in a way, to the 1950s when mangroves were widely regarded as just a place for rubbish dumps."
But Mrs Goudie said the protest was the work of a group of "hard-working citizens" who took pride in the environment."