Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham has slammed council management for keeping councillors in the dark on the Havelock North water contamination issue.

Yesterday it was announced the inquiry into the contamination of Havelock North's drinking water will be postponed until late January 2017, because of a legal battle between the Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) and Hastings District Council.

On Friday, HBRC had laid two charges against the district council for unlawful taking of water.

The next hearing for the inquiry, at which evidence would be heard from core participants, was due to be held on Monday at Hastings District Court. On the same day, in a separate courtroom, the district council would be called for their charges.


In accepting the district council's application for a postponement of the hearing, it is expected the inquiry's reporting date of March 2017 will not be met.

At a regional planning committee meeting this morning, Mr Graham called out staff for not keeping the council informed.

"There has been a lot of publicity around the Havelock water issue and we're taking a little bit of flak around that," he said.

"It just concerns me that governance have not been involved in any of these decisions that have taken place."

This issue had been raised before, Mr Graham said, and noted councillors wanted to be involved, and informed on what steps the executive team were making on the matter.

This would ensure "that we don't get caught out when we read the paper or get rung by somebody else."

When the postponement was announced yesterday, Mr Graham could not be reached for comment when contacted by Hawke's Bay Today.