More financial support for quake-hit businesses

7:26 pm on 22 March 2011

The Government has announced a further $6.85 million package to help Canterbury businesses recover from a devastating earthquake on 22 February.

The package includes $1.7 million to recruit a team of business recovery coordinators and $2 million to fund export promotion visits to re-establish overseas markets.

The Canterbury Business Recovery Trust Fund, set up by the private sector to help local businesses with professional services and relocation costs, will receive $2.5 million.

The Government has set aside $650,000 for businesses to access training, workshops and business coaching.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery minister Gerry Brownlee described the package as a needs-based response to help the Canterbury business community.

Mr Brownlee says he will release further programmes for businesses if they need them.

No decision has been made about the future of the wage subsidies the Government is currently paying to businesses, he says.

The new package comes on top of a wage subsidy programme which has been in place since shortly after the quake.

Radio New Zealand's business editor says the Government has already spent about $145 million on the programme and he expects there to be a decision about its continuation in the next few days.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly says the fund will provide much-needed help to get businesses back on their feet, but it is only part of the solution.

A spokesperson for the Canterbury Business Recovery Network, Mark Hau, says the Government's package will benefit some, but will not be enough to save many others.