William Shakespeare penned the phrase "to be or not to be"; a rather apt description when it comes to the Ruataniwha Dam. I'm sure many of us want to know exactly what the answer will be.

Since I moved to the Bay, the dam saga has been a bone of contention right up there with the Napier to Gisborne railway line.

We've had so many experts saying it's either a really good idea or an absolutely bad one. Their insights, instead of enlightening the every day Joe Blow has actually made it hard to see the forest for the trees. The latest drama has seen another financial backer Ngai Tahu Corporation pull out. This follows a similar exit by TrustPower earlier this year, although two institutional investors are currently in negotiations with the board.

What makes this even more dramatic is we now have a war of words breaking out between regional council chairman Fenton Wilson and councillors Rex Graham, Rick Barker, Tom Belford and Peter Beaven. The four councillors have written a letter to Conservation Minister Nick Smith and Environment Minister Amy Adams saying they haven't had any input into the council's submission to the board of inquiry and are now asking the ministers for the opportunity to lodge their own submission on the proposal.


Council chief executive Liz Lambert said the organisation had been up against a tight deadline and some submissions were not referred back to councillors. Mr Wilson says he isn't impressed by the councillors' actions. What has to be remembered is a lot of time and money has been invested into the project so getting the best resolution for the region wont be easy.