The regional council's water plan, and its handling of the drought, has been harshly criticised by some in the growing industry - criticism councillors are strenuously denying.
Ten days ago hundreds of tractors clogged the streets of Hastings, the protest organised by the Grower Action Group as part of its campaign to throw out the incumbent Hawke's Bay Regional Council because of its hardline stance on river flow limits.
About 500 people gathered to listen to the group's grievances. Spokesman Paul Paynter said the council threatened people's livelihoods when it banned water takes during last summer's drought. "Water is the lifeblood of Hawke's Bay. It was a terrorist act."