The business community has mixed reactions towards a greener and more anti-dam stance on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford said he was worried the dam would not proceed.

"We just want councils that are open for business," he said.

"We stand for growth in jobs and opportunity, and all I see for the dam is the opportunity - the employment opportunity, the economic opportunity, the revitalisation of Central Hawke's Bay," he said.


"On the other side of the game I see the opportunity to flush out the Tukituki River. Plan Change 6 is already going to happen, doing a whole lot of work about reducing leaching.

That was our opportunity to manage water and make it work better."

Pan Pac managing director Doug Ducker said he was looking forward to continuing a "very strong working relationship with the council and council officers".

"We will certainly hope that is maintained as we go forward," he said.

Pan Pac, one of the largest employers and exporters In Hawke's Bay, worked closely with the council on its timber and pulp operations regarding water, roading, water, harvesting and Napier Port issues, he said.

"Protection of the environment is always a focus of the company - we don't have a problem with that," he said.

"We are business orientated and employment orientated in addition to always being environmentally sensitive."

Whether one person could change the consenting regime "is yet to be determined" but he looked forward to briefing new councillors on ongoing operational issues.

"I hope sensibility and reason prevails. On occasion that is not the direction taken from the green perspective."

Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Will Foley said he was not worried about the Ruataniwha Dam project after the election. Not all councillors were black or white on the dam and voting patterns showed no clear opposition to it from the public, he said.

"We have come so far, we seem so close - I don't think there is any threat at this stage.

"Let's just wait for the first meeting of the new council and gauge the feeling."

Stronger stewardship of the environment was already in place in the region, but he was wary of extreme views.

"If we continue on the course we are on, most farmers have accepted we can do better around our environmental practices."

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said if the Ruataniwha Dam and associated irrigation infrastructure did not proceed, it would affect a small part of the industry - most of it was on the Heretaunga Plains.

Stricter environmental controls were "always a concern" but there were councillors with orcharding backgrounds.

"They understand the balance between the environment and the ability to harvest what is the largest economic-development earner for the region.

"I would expect more open and transparent debate on the topic."