Makeshift shipping line from Napier to Gisborne being made to get agricultural products moving

It's been dubbed the 'blue highway' - a makeshift shipping line from Napier to Gisborne to get agricultural products moving.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government is stumping up $2.25 million over three months to underwrite Gisborne's Eastland Port for the charter of the cargo ship - Rangitata.

But some said problems with wool processing in Napier meant a yet-to-be-established link to facilities in the South Island is crucial.

At long last a semblance of good news for Gisborne's cyclone-ravaged rural sector.

"We've been able to put a backstop in place to make sure that coastal shipping between Napier and Gisborne is viable and can be done regularly," Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

Hipkins was back on the East Coast where he was promising solutions and dialling up the charm.

"Giving you that certainty is one of the first and most essential steps that we can take," Hipkins said.

So a start bu East Coast Wools Ltd managing director Henry Hansen said this was a rural sector where some are on their knees.

"In Gisborne of course we are isolated, now we're feeling marooned," Hansen told Newshub.

"It's been a pretty heavy month I have to say. Absolutely no income, of course - still employing staff and getting up in the morning and trying to smile but you can't keep doing that forever."

Gisborne to Napier is one thing but issues with the flood-ravaged wool processing down the line mean a South Island route - currently only under consideration - is crucial.

"We need to be able to get wool, in our case from Napier to Timaru, because they need to further process it and they can't do it in Hawke's Bay at the moment because of the cyclone," Hansen said.

"They need a lot of help from the Government to get this off the ground and keep the industry going at a difficult time."

Newshub understands the Napier-Gisborne route has been discussed on and off for years. But Regional Development Minister Kiritapu Allan denied it had taken a cyclone for the Government to act.

"The request for it to extend up to Tarāwhiti has been a discussion led by businesses to which the Government has responded. I think you can see a clear trajectory of this Government investing in these alternative transport resilience options," Allan said.

A win for Gisborne, but what about a battered Wairoa to the south?

During Cyclone Gabrielle, the water at Wairoa showgrounds was waist deep and a month since the cyclone, nothing has really changed - a metaphor for a struggling rural sector.

A community stuck in mud, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said it's tough going.

"We've got huge issues and look, a lot of these people, I think, our cost of living is going to go up," Little said.

He said the Gisborne-Napier shipping route won't be much help to his constituents. They've got their eyes on something else.

"The focus on State Highway Two is our number one priority but with pace. I am looking at it thinking why is it taking so long?" Little said.

Cyclone Gabrielle has gone but some real tests lie ahead.