Auckland flooding: Calls for Government to give extra help to uninsured families who've lost everything

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has gotten stuck into the Auckland flood clean-up and put half a million dollars towards building a clean-up workforce.

But there are calls for the Government to do more to help those who've lost everything but don't have insurance.

Hipkins briefly joined the student volunteer army on Thursday - the group is helping families devastated by floods. But he knew more than his own prime ministerial muck-in is needed.

"To help with the huge clean-up effort ahead, we are standing up enhanced Taskforce Green," he said.

That's $500,000 to hire a cleanup workforce.

"It funds semi-skilled and unskilled jobs for local people so they can support our farmers, growers and communities by doing cleanup work," Hipkins added.

The workforce is already stretched, with more than 1200 construction jobs currently being advertised.

"Ths Ministry for Social Development still have people who they are looking to place into work," he said.

By this he means beneficiaries, and Hipkins is hinting he might yank some immigration levers.

"There is an ongoing process looking at our immigration settings to see how we can improve and how we can meet the needs that are in front of us."

"It's around processing times, it's around flexibility. It's around looking at the green list and whether that's still relevant," said Brett O'Riley, chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association.

Finding workers is just one of the myriad issues ahead.

While some homeowners affected by flooding do have insurance, pressure is mounting on the Government to help those who are uninsured and have lost everything.

"We've got the lowest household median income in Auckland, so insurance is pretty much a 'nice to have'," said Harry Fatu Toleafoa, deputy chairperson of the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.

He has been helping whānau and said the Civil Defence payments aren't enough. Newshub can reveal more than 13,000 people have been granted $6.1 million so far.

"I guess one way in which the Government can support is looking to possibly reinstate something akin to the wage subsidy," he said.

"If we're really going to have a new Government worried about bread and butter, then make that bread and butter be about those who are struggling to put bread and butter on their table," said Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

Hipkins said his main focus is supporting people through the immediate aftermath of the flood.

"The main thing that we have to do right now is to support people through this immediate period," he said. "Of course, the Government is going to continue to look at the best way to support people whose lives have been turned upside down by the flood."

Many hope the Government's help goes beyond a helping hand.