Financial aid for businesses and residents in flood-ravaged Edgecumbe will be discussed in detail this week, Prime Minister Bill English says.
Anger is building among locals at authorities' response to the flooding, caused when the Rangitaiki River breached a stopbank last Thursday. Some residents stormed out of a public meeting on Saturday night, questioning why more warning was not provided.
Speaking on TV1's Breakfast, English said there would be some form of inquiry into the response, but from what he understood human error had not contributed to the disaster. The situation was "pretty bad" for some people, he said.
"It is not a large town but they have evacuated 900 households. For some of those people it is some time before they can get back.
"We need to support those people quite closely because they have the maximum uncertainty. [They] left in a hurry, left behind their pets ... they need as much information as can possibly be given to them."
With Cabinet meeting today, English told Breakfast that experience in other natural disasters showed it was important to provide early support to give people "confidence and direction".
He declined to estimate how many houses will be condemned as a result of the flooding.
"But from standing there looking at it there are any number of them that simply won't be recoverable ... I just saw a lot of houses where there was water up to the windowsill, in some cases it has been up to the roof line."
Some residents are being allowed back into their properties this morning, but it is limited to just a few dozen homes. Locals from 46 properties along Hydro Rd, Nikau Place, Miro Place and Konini Place are allowed back from 8am.
Ministry for Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will tour the flood-damaged region today.
After the November 14 Kaikoura Earthquake, the government set aside $12.5 million for a business support package, which gave $300 a week per part-time employee and $500 a week for each full-time employee.
A support package for the primary sector of at least $5m was also pledged, and in February the government announced an $870,000 support package to promote tourism in Kaikoura and other upper South Island districts.