Auckland flooding: Owner of flood-damaged business says alleged looter 'worse than a low life'

The owner of a flood-damaged business has described a person who allegedly looted his shop as "worse than a low life", adding "I would not even describe him as human".

It comes as a vast clean-up continues, with large supermarkets reporting millions in losses from contaminated goods having to be thrown out.

The bins of sodden waste pile up. The family-run business Crystal Finesse Car Detailing prided itself on car grooming. They're now engaged in their biggest job yet with not only damage to vehicles but the entire workshop.

"All this stuff just got washed straight through the building to the back by the kitchen and it was a metre high throughout the building," said flood victim Kathy Woomack.

Woomack showed Newshub the shop's office - getting this business up and running was her husband's retirement plan.

"The phone was in the drawer, so that'll be a write-off, the printer, just everything. It's amazing how water just gets everywhere," Woomack said.

The culprit was a culvert which swiftly became overwhelmed and where Police would later find a body.

Part Master assistant general manager Aaron Curtis watched as the muddy floodwaters crept towards his store's front door. 

"We had to try and barricade the water from coming in from the culvert just outside. And then I had to get my staff out the door before electrocution - that was a possibility at that time," he said.

He wants the council to take responsibility for fixing the culvert infrastructure.

"People died here - just down the road. So something needs to be actioned very quickly."

Fourteen Foodstuffs supermarkets were hit three severely, including a Wairau Valley PAK'nSAVE.

Everything from the stock to the technology was ruined when a waist-high torrent hit. With the floodwaters now receded, tradesmen have moved in.

At the store in Wairau Valley, the owner told Newshub the damage is in the millions. All the fresh produce, including meat and vegetables, has been thrown out. The wiring has been destroyed.

"At PAK'nSAVE Wairau Road there is unfortunately a really large amount of stock that has to be removed and disposed of correctly. We just can't take any chances," Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin said.

And amid such despair - looting. A 57-year-old man was arrested after allegedly stealing products from a vape shop.

The owner told Newshub: "I just didn't think people would do this. He took advantage of people at the worst time. I would not even call him human."

It's an act that's appalled other business leaders in the area too.

"It's unacceptable at any time and particularly grotesque right now," Quin said.

Unacceptable - when so much mess and uncertainty lies ahead for so many.