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Fisheries shut, Kaikoura access restricted

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/11/2016

Crayfish and other fisheries along the South Island's earthquake-hit east coast have been temporarily closed as New Zealand continues to count the cost, a week on from the massive 7.8-magnitude shake.

The crayfish fishery, worth $23 million a year, has been closed for a month. Paua, worth around $1.5m, and other shellfish fisheries have been closed for three months.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the earthquake has had a devastating impact on the coastline.

He has announced a $2 million government-funded scientific investigation to look at the impact on the coastal environment.

Meanwhile, the only access road into Kaikoura, which bore the brunt of the damage, remains marginal and officials are controlling its use.

Civil Defence is arranging escorted access from the Waiau end of the former State Highway 70 after complaints that locals weren't able to get to their properties.

Officials say it will be only for residents, road and power repair contractors and the Defence Force, and only if they have 4WD vehicles.

One convoy, with residents who live beyond Mt Lyford, left on Monday morning. Another, for those on the Waiau side of Mt Lyford, left in the afternoon.

In Wellington, the British High Commission has been added to buildings damaged by the quake.

The damage was discovered during the an inspection by engineers on Monday morning and led to the closure of the building until further notice .

Elsewhere in the capital, deconstruction of a building at 61 Molesworth Street assessed as at significant risk of collapse is about to begin in the coming days.

Also structurally damaged during the quake was Statistics House, which is owned by CentrePort.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released the terms of reference for its investigation into the performance and design of the building.

"We need to understand why Statistics House responded as it did, while nearby buildings appeared to have suffered little damage," building, resource and markets acting deputy chief executive Chris Bunny said.

At Wellington Port, the container shipping operation remains suspended.

"We're working on options for getting containers moving through the port, and finding alternative space for our staff," CentrePort chief executive Derek Nind said.

"It's going to be some time before we return to 'normal', but we're already enabling much-needed economic activity in Wellington."

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