Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has activated a temporary employment programme to help councils employ local job seekers to support the clean-up in quake-affected areas.
Initial funding of $500,000 will be available to cover the wages of workers and supervisors, help hire or purchase personal safety or light equipment, and hire transport for work crews.
Mrs Tolley said beneficiaries in the affected areas would be able to help in cleaning debris and repairing damaged property and the local infrastructure.
She said her ministry would monitor the needs in the area as the programme was rolled out, and report back to her if any additional support is required.
Govt considers helping businesses in the capital
Meanwhile, Wellington businesses trapped behind earthquake cordons will have to wait several more days before a decision is made on access to government assistance.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has been in talks with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce about extending the wage subsidy available to Kaikōura businesses to those cordoned off in the capital.
Mr Lester told RNZ those talks had gone well, but Mr Joyce wanted more detail before committing to support for Wellington businesses.
"We're going to have a call at the end of the week just to understand how long those cordons are likely to be in place as well, and to get a better understanding of all the information, the number of persons affected on a medium-term basis.
"Then once we've got all the information we'll sit down and go through it.