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Business package to come for Kaikoura

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/11/2016

A support package for businesses affected by Monday's devastating earthquake will be announced in the next day or two, the government has promised.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the details of the package are still being put together, but it's expected to be similar to support provided to businesses in the wake of the deadly Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

It's thought to include both short-term benefits to help those in Wellington forced to close temporarily because of building damage, as well as support for those in the Kaikoura region where the impacts of the severe magnitude 7.5 quake are expected to be felt for the longer-term.

"We have been down this road before, sadly, in the case of Christchurch we had to do it as well, so we're familiar with some of the models and examples," Mr Joyce said on Wednesday.

"They're just looking for some support to get them through what will be a tough time."

About 800 employees in Kaikoura are believed to be affected by business closures and facing a sudden loss of tourists in an area reliant on the tourism industry.

Prime Minister John Key visited the area for a second time on Wednesday and said he wanted to get the message out as soon as possible that Kaikoura is back up and running.

In the meantime he said the business package would give employers confidence that they can keep staff on the payroll.

"As soon as we can get the roads up and running and the connectivity working, ultimately new tourists will be able to come to town," he said.

"If we don't do that quite quickly one of the concerns is that people will take it off the list of places they're going to go because it's a no go zone."

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