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John Key on another mission to Kaikoura

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key (R) inspects earthquake damage from a helicopter near Kaikoura on the South Island's east coast on November 14. © AFP/Getty Images New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key (R) inspects earthquake damage from a helicopter near Kaikoura on the South Island's east coast on November 14. Prime Minister John Key is about to board a Defence Force helicopter for another trip to quake-stricken Kaikoura as the evacuation operation continues.

Kaikoura is still cut off by road and rail after Monday's 7.5 magnitude quake.

By late Tuesday, more than 130 people, most of them stranded tourists, had been airlifted to Christchurch.

Sarah Stuart-Black, director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, told a briefing in the Beehive bunker a state of emergency had been declared across the Canterbury region, superseding local states of emergency in Kaikoura and Hurunui.

Ms Stuart-Black said food and water supplies were being distributed to communities where they were most needed.

"By night they will be going door-to-door to check on households," she said.

"Over 130 people have been evacuated so far and we are ensuring that people impacted by the earthquake are cared for."

Earlier on Tuesday, Defence Minister and acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the evacuees were taken to Christchurch where local authorities helped tourists make accommodation arrangements.

"The four New Zealand NH90 helicopters have been evacuating people and bringing in supplies on each flight," he said.

Mr Key flew to Kaikoura on Monday, later saying the damage was far worse than initially expected and could cost billions to repair.

In Parliament on Tuesday he said it would be repaired, regardless of the cost.

Roads and railways have been severely damaged, with several huge slips covering SH1.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges will be with Mr Key on Wednesday to see the destruction for himself.

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