Newly elected Hawke's Bay regional councillor Rick Barker says residents have been poorly informed about the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.
When the new nine-member council met for the first time on Wednesday, the former Labour cabinet minister lost his bid to be its chairperson by just one vote.
Mr Barker has urged the new council not to make the mistakes of the Clyde Dam and let emotion rule decision-making on the $600 million water storage project.
He says the regional council has communicated poorly and that needs to improve.
Mr Barker says when the council reaches its decision on whether the project should proceed, the reasons should be clear to everyone and not just the councillors.