Dam decision changes not easy says Council chair

By Doug Laing doug.laing@hbtoday.co.nz

9 comments
HOT SEAT: Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson, likely to be re-elected in Wairoa constituency. PHOTO/FILE
HOT SEAT: Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson, likely to be re-elected in Wairoa constituency. PHOTO/FILE

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson was today reserving judgment on the possibility the election results could can plans for the Ruataniwha water storage dam in Central Hawke's Bay.

Looking likely to have been re-elected to Wairoa's sole seat on the council, with a 198-vote preliminary result majority over single challenger Dean Whaanga, Mr Fenton also faces a possible challenge to the chairmanship in a council observers say has dam opponents now holding the balance of power, most notably with the election of Green Party strategist Paul Bailey as one of three representing Napier.

Learning election results while attending a family birthday gathering near Hastings, Mr Wilson, said talk of a reversal of the decisions for the dam to go ahead at a cost of more than $270 million was "cheap."

"Unravelling decision of Council made over six years doesn't happen overnight," he said. "It's possible, but improbable. I'll reserve my judgement."

Likewise he wasn't jumping to conclusions about the final election result, reflecting on how at the last election the Council lost bone of its veterans between the declarations of a preliminary result and the eventual outcome.

"I'll roll with the punches at this stage," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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