Recovering after the Kaikōura earthquake

  • Gerry Brownlee
Earthquake Commission Defence Civil Defence

Three months after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on 14 November, encouraging recovery progress is being made in affected communities.

Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the government and local authorities are working alongside not-for-profit organisations and businesses on a multi-pronged recovery effort in the wake of the 14 November earthquake.

“People’s wellbeing and livelihoods are our top priority,” Mr Brownlee says.

“In the last three months, the government has provided financial assistance, temporary accommodation and psychosocial support services to those who need it.

“We’re seeing good progress dealing with the massive slips north of Kaikōura. We have a big task ahead of us to restore full access on SH1 before Christmas 2017.

“As of yesterday, the Earthquake Commission has received more than 25,000 claims, and is working closely with insurance companies to resolve all claims for customers across the country.

“The agreement with insurers has streamlined the approach for managing home and content claims. So far, EQC has settled around $11 million of overcap claims.

“The New Zealand Defence Force has sent eight hydrographers to Kaikōura to survey the area’s sea floor and map the shifts caused by the earthquake.

“The results of the hydrographic survey, which uses the Navy’s single beam echo sounder and side scan sonar, will be used by Land Information New Zealand to update the nautical chart of the Kaikōura Peninsula.

“With actual depths now significantly less than charted depths, nautical charts are no longer accurate and safe navigation in the region has become an issue. 

“The NZDF mobilised 815 personnel, 11 aircraft and four ships to support the disaster relief operation in Kaikōura,” Mr Brownlee says.

National Recovery Manager Dave Brash says it’s been a big job getting the sites affected by slips safe ready to be cleared.

“But now the excavators are on site and work has started on clearing the slips from the road.

“KiwiRail has reopened the line between Spring Creek and Lake Grassmere and freight services from the Dominion Saltworks have resumed.

“More than 700 sites on the Main North Line need work and seismic activity is continuing.

“At the same time, diggers have removed more than 5000 cubic metres of material from the Kaikōura harbour to deepen the channel.

“A $5 million government grant is funding the repair and upgrade of the harbour. The detailed design for the harbour restoration is being discussed with the operators who use it and will be agreed to in the next couple of weeks,” says Mr Brash.

Notes to editors:

Government response to the November 14 earthquake:

  • $17.5 million business support package in the Kaikoura, Wellington and Hurunui districts
  • $5 million primary sector support
  • $3.7 million boost to health services in Kaikōura and Marlborough
  • $3 million in additional funding for GNS
  • $3 million fund to subsidise reinforcing masonry facades
  • $500,000 for temporary accommodation allowance
  • $199,500 funding for public restroom facilities at Springs Junction
  • 20 temporary housing units used after the Christchurch earthquakes offered to farmers with significantly damaged homes

After the earthquakes, Wellington City Council was granted local transition powers under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 to oversee the city’s recovery.

The council has required the owners of 72 buildings to undertake detailed engineering assessments. Most reports have now been received but the owners of 18 buildings have requested short extensions.