Rex Graham's attempt in the paper last week to show a more caring side of his character will not fool many.

The rain, although welcome, can not yet be regarded as the drought breaker unless it is followed up by more substantial falls. If there is nothing in that category within the next week, then we could be back to square one in quick time. In those circumstances however, the brief falls may leave a legacy that is worse than before they came.

The moist humid ground conditions will stimulate the explosion of facial eczema spores that lie in the dry litter of anything that masquerades as pasture on HB's farms.
If an outbreak occurs, it will add to the misery of those farming families who are already trying to find a buyer for their stock.

The chairman's detailed explanation of his concern and the regurgitating of his "Tank" plan can't disguise the obvious. It is a plan for the Heretaunga Plains alone and for those fortunate enough to be living and working in that important part of the region.
It is not a plan that is designed to provide an overview of the regional problems and potential solutions.


The CHB, Dannevirke and Wairoa subregions are notable omissions.

At first reading, the chairman's summary suggests that a lot of good work has gone into developing the study to this point. Hopefully, he will be able to sell the ideas for change to the ratepayers who are a bit gun shy at present given his previous attempts to overturn a similar plan developed on behalf of the CHB sub region.

Both plans are genuine attempts to deal with the huge problems associated with water resources, water usage, environmental maintenance and the effects of climate change
on our ability to maintain our lifestyles.

The unfortunate part about all this is that the chairman appears to have abandoned his responsibilities to all regional residents in favour of promoting one sector at the expense of another. That isn't what he is paid to do.

Water resources in a region such as HB are able to be viewed as interrelated and it is in the best interests of all that they are. It is perfectly reasonable that problem solving in this area will identify priority areas for attention and it may be justified to initially spend significant amounts of ratepayers money in a specific district because that part of the problem is so acute.

Selling that to the public is the job of the chairman and l'll bet my last dollar that the task will be so much easier if the plan is regionally inclusive with sound reasons given as to why it all has to be done in stages.

The ratepayers have to be satisfied that everyone in the region is being asked to contribute his or her fair share. That can only be achieved if everyone sees themselves as equal beneficiaries.

As Ewan McGregor wrote recently, there is a need here for an inspirational plan.

I'm sure that can be arranged because, in spite of our differences, Kiwis (whether town or country) have a habit of coming together in a time of crisis.

I'm sure we are in such times but I am equally sure that the HB Regional Council chairman is not the inspirational leader we need to lead us to the promised land.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand". That seems a pretty good description of Hawke's Bay today.

Clive Bibby is a fourth- generation member of a well-known CHB farming family that has been farming at Tolaga Bay on the East Coast since 1980.