Cyclone Gabrielle: No evidence to support large number of deaths - Prime Minister Chris Hipkins


The public has been warned against believing "outlandish claims" about a large number of fatalities following Cyclone Gabrielle.

It comes as police confirm another death of a person in Puketapu, near Napier, is being investigated.

The person is believed to have died after being caught in floodwaters.

Formal identification is yet to take place and more information would be provided when it became available.

The death would bring the confirmed toll to eight.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said people need to be prepared that there will be more deaths, but at this stage, he is not aware of anymore others that have not already been reported.

"It's no good to anybody speculating about how many people may have been injured or how many people may have died in this tragedy," Hipkins said.

"We will certainly share that information as soon as we can but I have heard some outlandish claims out there at the moment that there is no evidence to support."

He said he was not aware of any further deaths when he left Wellington this morning.

"That's not to say that there won't be more information that we will know when we get back to Wellington and reconnect with that network.

"All I will say is that we will report verified information as soon as we are in a position to do that.

"Where people have died, obviously the first priority is to get in touch with their families and make sure that they know what is happening and that can lead to a delay in terms of when it is publicly reported."

The eighth death has since been reported.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said there was no indication that the number of deaths was significantly larger than those that have been confirmed so far.

Coster said there was still a lot of work to do searching homes and if people were found, their family would be contacted first and media told.

Among the deaths were two firefighters, Dave Van Zwanenberg and Craig Stevens, who died following a landslip in Auckland's Muriwai.

Two-year-old Ivy drowned and died in the flash flooding in Eskdale.