What a year it has been in the Bay.

There has been no shortage of news, shocks and surprises, but what may have been overlooked was that it was a very tough year for many.

While the local economy has been pretty strong, we have still had tales of homelessness, people waiting for state houses and some struggling to make ends meet.

Politically, there was plenty of drama. It was a local government election year, where some bitter battles were fought. Some new candidates emerged victorious, while some stalwart councillors were consigned to the scrapheap of history.

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Probably the most telling point was in the regional council where it appears that ratepayers in Hastings and Napier made their views clear about the Ruataniwha Dam by electing some anti-dam councillors. This gave the majority on council to those against the dam and we have subsequently seen a moratorium being placed on any work to do with the project. We shall have to wait and see what happens next.

But the big news of the year, which also made national and international headlines, was the Havelock North gastro crisis, where more than 5000 people were laid low after drinking contaminated water.

The ramifications were huge and are still being felt, with many being left with a bad taste in their mouths. It may just be the chlorinated water they are drinking, but it more likely is that many people want the commission of inquiry to be able to pinpoint what happened and who was responsible.

There could be another storm brewing on that front.

Whatever happens, you can be assured that this paper will keep you abreast of all the local developments.

On behalf of the staff of Hawke's Bay Today, I wish all readers a very happy Christmas.