Shane Jones says the iwi opposed to a section of gravelled Hawke's Bay state highway being sealed is "hillbilly thinking".

Roughly 10km of road on State Highway 38 was due to be sealed with a $10 million-plus Provincial Growth Fund grant to be announced on Monday.

An event was scheduled to announce funding from the fund but was cancelled at the last minute due to Tuhoe opposition.

Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua chairman Tāmati Kruger told Hawke's Bay Today over the weekend that sealing the road would contribute to damage of the environment.

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He said his iwi was already struggling to handle the enviromental concerns that stemmed from a rise in tourism in the Waikaremoana area, which would be more pronounced with easier access to the lake, one of New Zealand's Great Walks.

He did not feel Tuhoe had been adequately consulted and said they had an interest in the area.

The road sealing is in Ngati Ruapani Ki Waikaremoana territory, but the road itself extends to Tuhoe territory.

Ngati Ruapani Ki Waikaremoana supports the road being sealed.

Jones, the Minister for Regional Economic Development, said today that Tuhoe needed to accept that, post-Treaty settlement, it can no longer throw its weight around and alienate its neighbours.

"That is why the road needs to continue. This type of hillbilly thinking is totally irrelevant to my political mission and I am not indulging it one inch."

Jones made the comments while speaking to media during the opening of the Napier-Wairoa rail line.

Jones said Ngati Ruapani Ki Waikaremoana could be assured the road would not be "frustrated by the Bay of Plenty-orientated Tuhoe".

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Minister Shane Jones (right) speaks to media about State Highway 38. With him is KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller who attended the reopening of the Napier to Wairoa rail line with the minister. Photo / Warren Buckland
Minister Shane Jones (right) speaks to media about State Highway 38. With him is KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller who attended the reopening of the Napier to Wairoa rail line with the minister. Photo / Warren Buckland

"That road will be supported, via the Wairoa District Council, as has been advocated for by Ruapani, who belong in the area, and by Mayor [Craig] Little, who I have a lot of confidence in.

"There is always room for better consultation, but I don't think consultation should overwhelm or undermine our mission to upgrade the infrastructure of the country."

Kruger has been approached for comment on Jones' comments.