Cyclone Gabrielle: Hawke's Bay locals call for military help as clean-up approaches sixth month

Hawke's Bay locals are calling for the military to help with the clean-up, over 170 days on from Cyclone Gabrielle, which left a massive mess in the region. 

They say the clean-up job is too overwhelming for them and what they need now is the might of the military.

Almost six months on from the disaster, members of Parliament are still facing tough questions from the community, including where the Defence Force is to help. 

Some locals in Hawke's Bay have been forced to live in a shed, crematorium, caravan and a tent as some residents are still stuck in the mud. 

Places like Eskdale and Puketapu are still littered with logs and the constant days of cleaning up have become unbearable for some.

"The aftermath has been so much worse than the floods," one local said to politicians. 

Politicians from several parties were in the region on Friday night to hear from the community. 

The most common question was: "Where is the Defence Force?".

"They were certainly deployed in the very early stages," Napier MP Stuart Nash said, only for locals to shout back, "but we need them now".  

They need the strength of numbers and the tools to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle.  

"We had a business, home and orchard... but now everything is gone," one local said.

The Defence Force's presence is wanted not only for the clean-up but for law and order too. 

"Why was the Defence Force used to guard our Managed Isolation and Quarantine hotels... but we couldn't have them on the roadblocks while our communities were getting looted," one local said. 

Around 400 Defence Force members were deployed in the immediate response, but they're long gone now. 

"The conversation about using the Army in a policing role, that's a conversation that's more possible than bringing the Army here to help with the clean-up," Nash said. 

"Because the only two people that can deploy the Army in that sort of role are the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence."

The Prime Minister's Office told Newshub any further deployment would have to be a decision of NEMA and the Defence Force. 

Leaving locals none the wiser.