John Key met flood-hit business owners in Christchurch this
morning. Photo from @johnkeypm
Prime Minister John Key has today seen firsthand the
damage wrought by the bad weather that has hammered
Christchurch, telling flooded businesses to "hang in there".
But many have had enough.
"How many times do we have to do this?" an exasperated and
upset hair salon owner, Kimberley Heywood, said this morning.
She endured the earthquakes and has lost track of how many
times she's mopped up liquefaction.
She has been unable to get business insurance since the
quakes, claiming that insurance companies haven't been
willing to take the risk on her St Albans salon.
"I'll never get insurance now," the 26-year-old says,
inspecting a sodden box of hair straighteners, which she
fears will be damaged, and at $240 a pop, a write-off.
"I've had enough. It's three years on and things aren't
getting any better.
"It makes me think twice about putting up with it.
"It's horrible and not fair. This was supposed to be my big
Mr Key flew into Christchurch this morning to inspect the
aftermath of the once-in-a-century storm cut off some homes
and forced the evacuation of others.
Along with Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry
Brownlee, he treaded gingerly through sodden shops - a
Subway, chemist, butchers, fruit and vege shop, hairdressers,
sushi bar, noodle bar, and a cafe and bakery.
In front of the TV cameras and photographers, he pitched in
to help with a mop in the chemist.
"Hang in there, won't you," he told the shop owners and staff
working to mop up after the torrential rain which poured over
their sandbags and flooded their shops.
"I really feel for the people of Christchurch," Mr Key said.
He said he appreciated it must be frustrating for people to
continuously deal with natural disasters beyond their
"[But] I still believe, fundamentally, there is an enormous
level of optimism in Christchurch."
Not for many donning gumboots and mopping up today.
Sudesh Kumar, owner of Tandoori Palace on Hills Rd, is fed
The entire street was a river yesterday, even higher than
last year's flooding which hit the area.
"We'll tidy up and try and open tonight," he said, showing
the high water mark about 15cm high throughout his takeaways
"There's always something to deal with... It makes me twice
about staying and working here. It's hard.
"Everybody thinks the same - it can happen again."
Christchurch City Council accepts there needs to be a
reassessment of the flood risk modelling.
Some residents have criticised the council over its response
to the storm, with some saying the council knew about the
flood risks but did not respond adequately with sandbags.
Mr Key told said the flood risks need to be addressed.
The quakes, and resulting liquefaction, had resulted in the
land dropping in many areas, making homes and shops more
Residents, Mr Key said, wanted "certainty and clarity" over
their future, and to judge "how viable it is for them to stay
where they are".
- By Kurt Bayer of APNZ