Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham and council member Tom Belford have defended themselves against election-campaign claims of conflicts of interest in their stances on water storage in Hawke's Bay.

The claims come from opponent, former Central Hawke's Bay Mayor and farmer Tim Gilbertson who is asking why they support for a dam plan by Maraekakaho farmer Mike Glazebrook but oppose Ruataniwha and Waipawa dam proposals in Central Hawke's Bay.

Gilbertson says the pair are "directly conflicted" with campaigns funded by grower and harvester John Bostock and others who he says "will be massive financial beneficiaries" of increased water

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