No decision has been made on a financial support package for Edgecumbe - with Prime Minister Bill English suggesting it may not be warranted for some flooded business owners.

After discussing a support package for businesses and residents during morning media interviews, English this afternoon tempered expectations.

"Any support package, there needs to be significant and sustained loss of business and that will depend on the damage to the buildings and the extent to which they can just dry them out in a few days and walk back in, or something much more significant that would have a big impact on them. We are yet to assess that," English said.

Asked if he was suggesting a support package may not be announced, English said, as in the case of earthquakes in Kaikoura and Christchurch, it would depend on the extent of disruption.


"If it is as simple as drying out the building in a reasonably quick period and being able to move back in, that would be ok. If it is a complete loss, that might be an insurance issue. If it's somewhere inbetween it might be a case of business support."

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has been appointed lead minister to oversee Government assistance to Edgecumbe, after today's confirmation that former finance minister Sir Michael Cullen will chair an independent review into the flooding.

The review would focus on the infrastructure and the circumstances that led to the breach of a flood wall and associated flooding through the town.

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.

Tolley said she had spoken to authorities who were optimistic about the rate at which the water was receding. Work was being done to shore up a temporary stopbank but there still is not 100 per cent confidence it will hold amidst the bad weather forecast for later this week.

English said it was "possible" the flooding was linked to climate change but the Government didn't spend time trying to make that connection.

"We are pretty focussed on trying to deal with the impacts of it and the regularity of these sorts of events is certainly heightening the understanding at central and local government about managing risk better."

Asked if some areas of New Zealand would eventually need to be abandoned because of climate change, English said changes in the Resource Management Act meant councils would be much more careful about locating new developments in areas prone to natural hazards.


"With respect to past decisions, well you just have to mitigate the risks...but we don't have in mind any large scale shifting of houses or anything like that. Even in Edgecumbe, the town is there, it works, it can be restored and it will be."

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.