Napier's main industrial area still cordoned off weeks after cyclone

Napier's main industrial area is still cordoned off weeks after Cyclone Gabrielle rolled through the country.

Restoring regular access is weeks away, as the potential cocktail of chemicals disturbed by the flood waters is better understood.

It’s like a scene from a movie as scientists in hazmat suits walk along the Awatoto industrial business zone's now sun-baked land.

Officials are still trying to work out what hazardous materials they're dealing with.

Flooded carpets, compost, fertiliser manufacturers and the wastewater treatment plant – all hold potential for a dangerous concoction of chemicals.

A strict hazardous cordon remains in place; all business operators must be in full PPE and sign in and out of the cordons.

Napier City Council scientist Emily Frost said test results from silt and sediment samples collected outside the cordon are looking good.

"There has been nothing dramatic indicated at all in any of the samples," she said.

"We are testing a range of things which include organics, bacterial and biological so microbes; also doing a very large suite of different chemicals which include heavy metals."

But they're not taking any chances.

Napier City Council mayor Kirsten Wise said a decision on whether to lift the cordon will be made once all results are back.

"For public’s safety, the cordon will be in place for weeks yet," she said.

Companies left inside have a complex clean-up ahead.

Ruminate business owner Jack Tarrant said with many businesses expected to be "out of action" for six to 12 months, government support would go a long way.

"The flow-on effects of what this little area does are big for New Zealand, and it’s been really hit hard so if we could go in on a united front and get some horsepower behind us from the central government, it would really help this area," he said.

Some Awatoto businesses said they were spending around $40,000 per day to maintain 50 to 100 staff and costs for the rebuild.

Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Robertson, who visited the region today, said most of the larger businesses are insured.

"Most of those larger businesses have banks that they work with – those are the two ports of call – and then we can talk once those conversations have been had, about what Government might be able to do to help," Robertson said.