A Central Hawke's Bay landowner is wrestling with the moral dilemma of whether or not to provide TAG Oil and Apache Corporation with permission to frack on his land.
That delay is believed to be why the companies have yet to lodge their oil-drilling resource consent application with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, despite saying they would do so earlier this month.
The family faced with the decision is thought to be having second thoughts about signing off permission for the oil companies to use their land, and the weight of the decision facing them has provoked widespread sympathy.
Otane farmer Greg Hart, one of the more vocal opponents of the proposed fracking in Hawke's Bay, offered them his support, saying they were in a "bloody tough place".
"I really feel for them. As a young family and living in a rural community where you're surrounded by neighbours and friends, and [with] such contentious issues there's going to be differences of opinion, and whatever decision he makes is not going to please everybody," Mr Hart said.
Haana Wilcox, from Porangahau, said she and her mother were among the few in the area she knew who had denied the oil companies early exploratory access to their land. But she sympathised with the difficult decision the landowner and his family now faced about whether or not to allow the first Hawke's Bay fracking operation.
"They're damned if they do and damned if they don't," she said. "Lots of people have opinions about what they should be doing, that they should be saying no, or should be saying yes, it is a really difficult decision to make.
"Because if you have a family or job ... you care about the state of your land and its condition for future generations, then you have a hard decision to make in the face of global oil companies.
"There will be people saying to them 'get what you can get'. There are lawyers who specialise in it, and in the end we all still have to live together as a community.
"I support them no matter what decision it is that they make, because in the end we're members of the same community."
Regional councillor Liz Remmerswaal tabled a council motion on February 29 (that unanimously passed) calling for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to undertake a study into fracking.
On March 28 the commissioner said she would do so, and it was welcomed by both sides of the fracking debate.
The information provided by such organisations were required for judgment calls that the Central Hawke's Bay landowner faced, Ms Remmerswaal said. "I think they would be a lot more satisfied if they could get that information from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment."
The landowner involved declined to comment.