A Hastings resident says the Hawke's Bay Regional Council "couldn't care less" after council tractors crushed her crops without permission - two years in a row.
Koreen Nichol, of Crystall Rd, had her lucerne crops damaged on Tuesday after two unauthorised HBRC tractors used her field to access a council drain.
The disgruntled resident said it was the second time it had happened in two years, despite asking council not to do it.
"Last year it was tabu [rye grass] crop they damaged - this year it was new lucerne. They've done it again, even though they were asked not to come in and mow the drain," she said.
Nichol said while the crop will recover, she says the problem remains that council had repeated the mistake.
"They can't get to the drain from the roadside because there's a big long row of trees blocking it and a fence which isn't on our boundary it's on council land," Nichol said.
She said council did not ask to enter the property.
Yet council said a notification letter was sent to adjacent landowners to the drain in September about maintenance work and potential requirement for access.
"Annual waterway maintenance work is important to the function and efficiency of the flood control and drainage network across the Heretaunga Plains," a council spokeswoman said.
When Nichol's husband confronted the driver of one of the tractors, he claimed the driver said he thought the paddock was full of weeds.
Nichol said council needed to be held accountable for its lack of respect.
Council team leader schemes, Antony Rewcastle, said he would be happy to discuss the incident and alternative options for maintenance.
"Wherever possible staff will avoid damaging crops, however, we operate under rules in the Hawke's Bay Regional Resource Management Plan, Rule 71, which allows access for the regional council to exercise its powers, functions and duties under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941, the Land Drainage Act 1908, or the Local Government Act 1974," he said.
However, Nichol said council should be "exposed for their 'couldn't care less practices' for people's crops" attitude.
"This is what's happening in the community, I'm not happy about it. That's the regional council for you."
Rather than an apology, she wanted action.
"I want them to either cut the trees down, shift the fence and put it on the right boundary or deal with it some other way.
"The council owns the drain. It's not ours – it is their responsibility even though in years prior we've taken care of it ourselves."
Works Group manager Hamish Fraser said he was not aware of a previous agreement prohibiting the tractors from using the Nichol's field as access to the drain.
"The council mowers were operating within the designated drainage maintenance corridor, and have not been made aware of any previous agreement with the land owner regards entry to this property," Fraser said.