While eyes have been focused on the Regional Council and its endorsement of an independent fracking study, the Hastings Council has determined that there is significant value in fracking after all.

HDC chief executive Ross McLeod said yesterday that drilling of initial wells would begin as early as Monday, assuming HAZMAT suits could be fitted for the drilling team.”We believe that fracking right here in our urban centre holds great promise for helping to achieve the region’s strategic objectives,” he argued. “Why frack in the middle of nowhere down at the fringe of our region. Every day we see plenty of hot gas emitting from point discharges in Napier.”

Here was the scene as the decision was announced to HDC’s asset management chief.

The Hastings wells will be located just on the Hastings side of the Tutaekuri River, which forms part of the boundary between Hastings and Napier.

Napier City chief executive Neil Taylor expressed alarm. “My concern is that they might bore their way right into our contaminated dump site in Onekawa, then we’ll really have a fracking disaster on our hands.” Taylor said he would recommend that fracking be put on the agenda for the next meeting of the Napier/Hastings Shared Services Working Party (NHSSWP). The next meeting of the NHSSWP, which has had problems getting quorum,  is scheduled for October 1st, 2013, at which point the group is expected to make a pre-election announcement about its recent achievements.

Regulatory officials at the Regional Council would not comment, pending instructions from TAG Oil. “No matter,” said McLeod, “Business Hawke’s Bay has given its blessing.”

Tom Belford

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