'It's important we get the tourists back into Kaikōura for Christmas' - NZTA

Farmers affected by the Kaikōura quake say their biggest challenge is coping while State Highway One north of town remains cut off.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and MPI Minister Nathan Guy on Tuesday flew over the repair work by chopper to check progress.

"More than $47m has been spent on repair work in the past month alone. That's more money in one month than we spent in any one month on the Waterview Connection (in Auckland)," said Mr Joyce.

NZTA says it's on track to re-open both road and rail before Christmas.

Quake Recovery Manager Steve Mutton says efforts are currently being concentrated on the south side of Ohau Point.

"Once we can safely work under this we can then have a construction track around Ohau Point, which means we have a construction point the length of the coastline here. That's really the start so we can build the sea walls and get the road open by Christmas," he said.

It's hoped the rail line, which was pushed out from the coast by the quake, will be open within the next few months.

"It's important we get the tourists back into Kaikōura for Christmas," he said.

At least 1300 workers on shifts around the clock are clearing and stabilising massive slips.  

NZTA says the project is complex and unprecedented.

"This is massive, New Zealand's never seen this scale before, it's huge," Mr Mutton said.

"It's an extreme environment, beautiful coastline, huge cliffs on one side with rockfalls that are happening continuously.  There's beautiful marine life we need to tread carefully with, there are cultural areas of significance," he said.

Special provisions are even made to keep seals out of harm's way.

"Every lunchtime we're bringing helicopters in to move the seals away from our construction sites," he said.

The Government said it's spent $3.5m supporting farmers affected by the quake.

Derek Milton's farm near Clarence suffered a huge slip, stranding three cows that went global on social media.

The funding helped get his farm back up and running.

"You can't be given everything, you've got to help yourself. But for every three fence posts we bought, the Government bought one," Mr Milton said.

"The disruption of not having State Highway One open is probably our biggest issue and will continue to be until it opens.

The Government on Tuesday also announced a $500,000 recovery fund to help paua fishers re-seed stocks after the seabed rose during the quake.

Mr Joyce said there will be another big shock in New Zealand and after Kaikōura the government is better placed to respond.