Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has hit out at property developers for knocking on the doors of tornado-hit Papatoetoe residents 24 hours after disaster struck.
The tornado tore through the South Auckland suburb on Sunday, leaving widespread damage and killing Janesh Prasad.
Hayword Rd resident Shirley Corles-Davis told Local Democracy Reporter Stephen Forbes earlier this week she was fuming after being approached by a developer.
"I was so angry. They've been in the area trying to get business and it's not on. This is the worst street in Papatoetoe right now," she said.
Corles-Davis said she told one of the developers in no uncertain terms what he could do with his offer.
"I was so angry, I swore at him. I told my neighbour if I was a foot taller I would have punched him."
Goff was scathing of the speculators after surveying the clean-up with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning.
"That is just totally insensitive and totally inappropriate.
"When people are in the midst of dealing with a crisis in their life they don’t want someone coming over and saying 'look, I’ll buy your property off you'. Just be sensitive. Be human, show a bit of decency."
Goff said there was no firm evidence of looting in the days after the tornado, but he could not rule it out.
“I couldn’t rule out that there are opportunistic people around that exploit others at a time of disaster and misery and absolutely condemn that to happen."
He said it was clear from day one this had been one of residents' concerns and he had ensured there was a police presence about.
This included foot and vehicle patrols.
"There is still strong police patrols in the neighbourhood."
Goff revealed 93 people were currently staying in emergency accommodation in the wake of the tornado and said there had been nine "firm" applications for the $200,000 mayoral relief fund. A further 17 are in the pipeline.