The Government says it will help local councils with the cost of the floods in Whanganui, estimated to be about $120 million.
The Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council said that figure included social, building and economic costs to business but excluded the rural sector.
Council recovery manager Greg Shirley said the estimate was likely to be refined as further information came to light.
Prime Minister John Key, who was in Whanganui this afternoon, said the impact of the floods would be too great for councils to withstand on their own.
He said, historically, the government had contributed 60 percent of costs, with insurance footing some of the bill.
"It's difficult for us to know on day one, you know, just how much of it in theory we're on the hook for as the government, just as a starting point plus insurance," he said.
"But I find it very difficult to believe we wouldn't need to top that up with some more support."
Mr Key said it was still early days, and the Government would need to look at how much it would contribute and how that would work.
He said he would talk to the Minister of Finance and other Cabinet colleagues on Monday about help for Whanganui and Taranaki.
More cordons come down
A state of emergency is likely to stay in place in Whanganui for at least another week.
Emergency cordons are being removed around the city; the Taupo Quay cordon in the central business area was lifted this morning and it was expected part of Anzac Parade in East Whanganui will open this afternoon. The remaining cordons should be lifted tomorrow.
Civil defence controller Jonathan Barrett said the focus was turning to emotional support for people seeing their damaged homes for the first time.
A psychological support group has been set up at a Red Cross command post on Anzac Parade and district health board counsellors will be available at the Civil Defence Welfare Centre at Whanganui Girls College.
Civil defence authorities said they had now contacted the estimated 200 people isolated in outlying parts of the region, including at nine remote marae.
Cedric Eruera Nepia, of Te Ati Haunui Apaparangi, has been been on helicopter flights to check on people's welfare.
He said the emergency relief helicopters had been dropping off food supplies, generators and medical supplies, and transporting some people back to town.
About 75 per cent of the roads in flood-affected parts of the district have now reopened, but dozens of rurals roads and State Highway 4 remain closed.
Civil Defence said many slips were considered too unstable and dangerous to work on, and repairs have been suspended because of rain expected this weekend.
The current estimate for roading repairs just in Whanganui alone stands at $40 million.