Three Kaikoura men have been arrested and charged with looting a freight train stranded north of the town by Monday's earthquake.
The train was stuck between slips at Mangamanu and was reported to be burgled on Wednesday night, police say.
On Friday they said three men, aged between 18 and 26, had been arrested over the incident.
Police have recovered some of the property and are looking for the rest.
NZ First MP Ron Mark is calling for a law change imposing tougher sentences on looters, saying they should be given 10 years hard labour.
"Both myself and fellow NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell observed the train when we helicoptered down to Kaikoura yesterday morning," he said on Friday.
"It has been targeted by low-life criminals, train looters should be slammed hard."
He earlier called on police to tell "malingering non-locals" in Kaikoura to move out.
Mr Mark says freeloaders are accepting free food and hand-outs so they can spend their nights partying and drinking in the quake-stricken town.
"We were advised there is some frustration with non-locals and non-emergency helpers who have decided to stay in the town and are accepting the tremendous generosity of locals," he said.
"Kiwis are know as being generous and hospitable, but this only goes so far.
"These people who are prolonging their stay and receiving free food and hand-outs should be advised to move on."
Mr Mark wants the government to issue instructions to the police.
He didn't say whether the people he was talking about were foreign tourists.
Civil Defence has confirmed that while all the tourists in Kaikoura who wanted to be moved out have been evacuated, some decided they wanted to stay on.