The Country - Water likely to play a key role in Bay elections

Mike Williams, Former Labour Party President, writes:

Hawke's Bay voters will be applauding the fact that issues around water featured strongly in the first party leader's debate of the general election campaign.

They are likely to influence electors' voting decisions this month.

Unlike previous leader's clashes, there was no killer moment in this debate and the nearest we got was when Mike Hosking, who put on a thoroughly professional performance despite the misgivings of the thousands who signed a petition to have him removed, suggested that Bill English had been "caught with his pants down" on water issues.

Nowhere with the possible exception of Canterbury are water issues looming larger than in Hawke's Bay in this election.

I had the benefit of a blissful Hawke's Bay childhood and on many of those sun-drenched Hawke's Bay days, mum and dad took us swimming. Unless you were prepared to take a fairly dicey trip over unsealed back roads to swim at Ocean Beach or Waimarama, the best swimming places were to be found on the Tukituki River.

I killed a few hours on a recent visit to the Bay by visiting one of those spots and I rapidly decided that there was no way I would risk my kids or grandkids in what now looks like a diluted sewer.

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