For all the talk about banning burn-offs and conserving our aquifers, you have to wonder whether anyone at Hawke's Bay Regional Council understands the gravity of the impacts we're facing from climate change.
If they do, they're hiding it well. And not giving the public much chance to influence any outcomes.
In my view, the loss of Tom Belford's inquiring analyses and Paul Bailey's stubbornly Green focus seems to have drawn something of a curtain over transparency, if two recent decisions are anything to go by.
First, deciding the public don't need to be consulted over changing the allowed nutrient limits for the land units in the Tukituki catchment, despite the setting of those (existing) limits was subject to a Board of Inquiry process followed by Environment Court challenges.
That should be enough to show how much concern there is for getting that regime right – and why you'd want to publicly notify any changes.
But no. The council has decided to allow double the application of nitrogen.
HBRC went along with this on the pretext that Overseer, the monitoring tool used to measure land-use capacity, has been updated and arguably now shows the original limits were too strict. It is a very backwards way of addressing things.
Surely the health of a waterway depends on its nutrient loading. In fact, you set the land limit accordingly, then work at finding the best ways to ensure it's met and farms are compliant.
But you can't tweak an operative plan's allowances every time some new software comes out.
A similar story for the water bottling plants. Okay, entirely new applications still have to follow a public notification process, but the council has allowed existing consent holders the chance to alter their use of those consents – and we may well end up with more water bottlers (or at least more bottled water) as a result, with no public input.
Meanwhile, faced with a situation where the Heretaunga aquifer is declared "over-allocated" , what do the bureaucrats recommend?
That the council sets out on a path to establish water storage facilities sufficient to meet that extra demand.
No talk of options to curtail growth. No definitive cap on supply. No, just a "shovel ready" response to try to come up with up to nine times the present need to service the irrigators of the future – for their benefit, not ours.
Then they have the cheek to label this part of a "climate change adaptation strategy"!
A year ago I had the honour of leading Extinction Rebellion's call on the council to declare a climate emergency – which, with much fanfare, they did.
A year later and deputy chair Rick Barker has had to resort to a notice of motion to try to get the bureaucracy to actually embrace the idea and set up a climate mitigation unit.
The response? Half a dozen reasons why they can't do it now, with acknowledgement to look at doing something in 2021 for the next long-term plan.
With six out of nine councillors inside a year of their first term, it's fair to expect the council to still be settling its collective feet under the table.
But climate change will not wait for them to get their act together. They need to kick their bureaucrats in their backsides to start producing some real mitigation planning.
• Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet. Views expressed are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.