Support payments should be in bank tomorrow

7:00 am on 1 March 2011

The Government says support payments for Christchurch businesses and employees struggling in the wake of last week's earthquake should be in the bank on Wednesday.

The scheme is broader than the one announced after September's quake, covering more companies and providing more money per employee.

For the next six weeks, employers will be able to get $500 a week for full-time staff and $300 a week for part-time workers. Those out of a job will also be eligible for up to $400 a week.

Some business owners say that, while the package is a great start, they still face other challenges like paying rent and rates.

Companies not eligible for the support include multi-national corporations, nationwide chains and those with loss-of-business insurance.

40,000 workers could benefit

Prime Minister John Key says more than 40,000 workers could benefit from the package, which will cost between $100 million and $120 million.

He says the Government originally considered a four-week interim package, but made it six weeks to give it time to come up with a longer-term package.

Labour leader Phil Goff says the package is a good start, and will help give businesses and employees some immediate financial relief.

But the real test, he says, will be the long-term rebuilding of the city and its economy.