Central Hawke's Bay mayor Peter Butler has apologised to Ngati Kahungunu - after the iwi was offended by comments he made about the tribe's involvement over the Ruataniwha dam proposal.
Mr Butler had said the tribe's leader, Ngahiwi Tomoana, and his colleagues - who've raised concerns about the water storage scheme at the Tukituki River - should be banned from any employment the project offers.
The iwi said he was singling out Ngati Kahungunu - and not other groups such as Forest & Bird and Fish & Game.
Mr Butler says his remarks were prompted by a newspaper headline suggesting the dam proposal could be delayed - partly because of opposition feedback by Ngati Kahungunu.
He says if he has offended Ngahiwi Tomoana and others, he offers an apology. But he says opposing groups also need to know that there are benefits in establishing the water scheme.
Mr Butler says the Waipawa River that runs up to the Makarora River, proposed to be a dam site, doesn't have any running water, and suggests if the scheme goes ahead - water would flow from that river.