Cyclone Gabrielle: Buyout for worst-hit homes leaves thousands of houses in other categories in limbo

Around 700 homes around the country are being written off after this year's cyclone damage with the Government joining forces with councils to offer voluntary buyouts in the worst-hit areas at a cost of around $1 billion.

But as for the houses in other categories, a further 10,000 of them are going to need more flood protection before they can be rebuilt.

Thursday's announcement left many of them in limbo and residents of Napier's Awatoto fear resolution could be months away.

Awatoto resident Jane Harrison is living in a shed. It's warm and dry but it isn't home. 

It's makeshift and muddled, and she has no idea when normality will return. 

"Quite annoyed as we thought we'd get some more answers [and] not have to wait another six weeks for stop banks to maybe be finished," Harrison said.

Harrison's actual home has been stripped and ready for rebuilding. 

It's been designated category 2C*, meaning repairs like fixing Awatoto's busted stop banks are needed and possibly other things like raising her home.

But adding to the confusion, her category also means it's possible she'll be shifted to Category 1 and won't need any significant redesign. 

"I would think probably the middle of next year if not longer before we would actually be in a home because it just keeps dragging," Harrison said.

The Council's own website states for those in Categories 2 and 3, the "provisional assessments" delivered on Thursday are "just the start of the process".

Harrison thinks it'll be months more of waiting. The Council can't be definitive about the time involved. 

"I'm not sure about months, but as someone in a 2C with my house, and those in the village I live in, they have come to the realisation that there are mitigation measures," Hawke's Bay Regional Council chair Hinewai Ormsby said.

"I don't think they're being transparent about actually how long this is going to take," Harrison said.

She hopes to learn more in 14 days when Council has said more detailed information will be released.