Quake relief package for some Wellington businesses

Steven Joyce.
Economic Development minister Steven Joyce announce that around 12 Wellington businesses affected by the Kaikoura earthquake will be eligible for a Government relief subsidy.

A Government relief package for businesses affected by the Kaikoura Earthquake has been extended to some Wellington businesses.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said this afternoon that Wellington businesses inside cordons which were unable to move or operate elsewhere could now apply for relief.

Around 12 businesses are expected to qualify for the subsidy. They are based on Molesworth Street, Tory Street, and near Queensgate Mall in Lower Hutt, where buildings are being demolished or are in danger of collapse.

"The situation in Wellington is different from that in Kaikoura because a state of emergency hasn't been declared, and the city overall is functioning well," ,Mr Joyce said.

"However a small number of retail and hospitality businesses have been prevented from trading with the public for an extended period because of the need to demolish buildings."

The relief package gives businesses financial support for up to eight weeks so they can keep on staff.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the subsidy was strictly limited to retail and hospitality businesses which could not physically move to another vacant space. It was not available to businesses with continuity insurance.

The relief package was originally only available to businesses in Kaikoura with fewer than 20 workers. It was later extended to all companies in the region after complaints by larger operators such as Whale Watch Kaikoura.

However, the Government came under further pressure from Wellington business owners who said they were directly affected by the Magnitude 7.8 quake.

The Government has set aside $7.5m for quake-related support. So far, 59 businesses have applied and been granted a total of $606,400.

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