Flood-ravaged orchardists share plea to Chris Hipkins as he promises regular visits to Hawke's Bay

Worsening weather saw the Prime Minister caught short in Hawke's Bay on Thursday.

Chris Hipkins was forced to cancel a helicopter flight to Wairoa after spending the morning further south. His itinerary didn't include visits to Napier's worst-hit area but he's left locals with a promise.

Hipkins was back in Napier, but not exactly getting his boots dirty. 

The Prime Minister privately checked in with police and had a quick walk through a distribution centre before forecast bad weather scuppered a helicopter flight to Wairoa.

There was no visit to some of Napier-Hastings' worst-hit spots. 

"So we've had a whole team of Government ministers through the region in the last week, and we of course have been comparing notes. The Minister of Finance was here on Sunday and had the opportunity to speak to some of the orchardists. I haven't had the opportunity to speak to the orchardists yet," Hipkins said. 

Newshub returned to the flood-ravaged orchards of Puketapu to find out what the Prime Minister needs to know.

Puketapu orchardist Greg Evens said he'd "love to see" Hipkins there. 

"I'd love to give him a personal tour of my orchard. The pears are pretty good!"

Part of Evens' orchard is now a wasteland. Much of the slash is cleared, but the silt is going nowhere. 

"We need some support to keep on going. We're really resilient people that do the best we can, but we need some resources to ensure we can keep on trucking along."

Hipkins suggested the Government is still fine-tuning what that might look like. 

"One of the challenges with something like a wage subsidy, for example, is that some of these businesses are back and running now and they are looking for workers because they've got to get on with harvesting others who are heavily affected, and a wage subsidy isn't necessarily the best support they're looking for at the moment."

Further down the Tutaekuri River, Steve Gillum ran through the issues growers are facing. 

"As apple growers, the big thing for us is we've got our houses insured, we've got our building insured, we've got our contents insured. So we're good there. There is zero insurance available, and no one will have it, for the apple crops."

He's not so worried about getting a visit from the Prime Minister. 

"I don't need to see them in front of cameras shifting shit. I don't need him up my driveway."

Instead, he left us with something to pass on. 

"Please, Chris, if you can put everything you can think of into getting the farming and the orcharding going again. That's what'll drive recovery into next year."

The Prime Minister said they won't be left in the lurch.

"There is support on offer now. It's available now to apply through the Ministry for Primary Industries. There's a transparent formula involved so for orchardists. It's a per hectare formula to assist in the clean-up effort."

But he'll be back boots and all.

"I'm intending to be here regularly, so I absolutely will take the opportunity to do that. I can't guarantee it for today but I will be here regularly."

A promise, unlikely to be forgotten soon.