Anger builds over Government's secret offer to share cost of buying out cyclone-damaged Hawke's Bay houses

Frustrations are spilling over in Hawke's Bay as the Government's offer to share the cost of buying out cyclone-damaged houses remains shrouded in secrecy.

Councils aren't allowed to say what the offer is until it's been unanimously agreed upon by all five of them.

Red-zoned Esk Valley resident Steve Wheeler is beyond frustrated. He told Newshub "we've just had enough. We're just tired, we're now angry".

He's one of about 700 homeowners in Category 3 and wants to accept a voluntary buy-out, but still has no idea what that looks like.

"People are feeling gutted, people are feeling quite high levels of despair. People are giving up," Wheeler said. 

This week the Government's reached a deal with the region's five councils, including cost-sharing the buyout of red-zoned houses, flood protection and roading repairs.

However, the details of who is paying for what are tightly under wraps.

"As part of the negotiations, there have been legal restrictions to be able to share those until councils can deliberate over them," Hawke's Bay Regional Council chair Hinewai Ormsby told Newshub.

The reason; Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Roberston said the Government "thought it was fair that council got to hear the details first". 

The details might not go down well with ratepayers. Napier Mayor Kristen Wise said she knows her community is going to be "frustrated and find that difficult to swallow quite frankly".

After the Christchurch Earthquake, the Government footed the full bill for buying out red-zoned houses. Napier's Mayor is disappointed that's not the case for Hawke's Bay.

"It was a bit heartwrenching seeing all the investment that's come from the Crown in that city, including property buyouts, and we're not being offered the same deal," Wise said. 

"Regrettably the intensity and frequency of these weather events means Governments in the future are going to have to find sustainable ways of funding them," Robertson said. 

While further north, Wairoa needs millions of dollars of flood protection. Mayor Craig Little is yet to learn all the details of the Government's deal but wants it made public as soon as possible. 

"I don't want to muck around because a lot of people are really in a bad space here in Wairoa and need to get on with [their] lives and start building."

Mayor Little is urging the other councils to vote in favour so the region and its people can move forward.

What does this mean for other cyclone-hit regions awaiting buyouts? 

The deal is likely going to pave the way for other regions. Councils in Tairāwhiti and Auckland are still negotiating deals with the Government and those are expected in the coming weeks.

Minister Robertson said on Tuesday it's taking longer to work through and each region has slightly different issues. 

The process of splitting the cost between councils and the Government for weather-related damage and managed retreat from flood-risk areas is really setting the template for what can be expected in future with similar events.

The Government's made it crystal clear that they simply can't afford to cover all the costs.

All eyes are on this deal with Hawke's Bay and those details should emerge on Wednesday and Thursday.

The mayors Newshub have spoken to say they'll be making the deal public as soon as they're able to.