18 Nov 2016

Help quake-hit Wgtn businesses, says MP

1:30 pm on 18 November 2016

Labour's MP for Wellington Central, Grant Robertson, has written a letter to the government requesting a business support package for the capital.

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Cordons are in place in some Wellington streets because of earthquake damage to nearby buildings. Photo: RNZ / Aaron Smale

Dozens of businesses have had to be evacuated after several buildings were found to be at significant risk of collapsing.

On Tuesday many businesses around 61 Molesworth Street had to leave in a hurry after fears the 10-storey building was about to fall.

Yesterday, there was a sense of déjà vu when police and firefighters rushed to clear the area around Tory Street and Courtenay Place, after the carpark building next to a Courtenay Place cinema complex was deemed unsafe by engineers.

Several other businesses have had to evacuate their buildings due to damage from Monday's quake.

Mark Sutherland, who ran the Barista Boys coffee cart in the cordoned off area in Molesworth Street, said he was worried about the financial impact of the quake.

"For any business not to be able to make money for over a week is quite hard, no matter who you are. It's a matter of relying on savings, family and friends."

"You know we're Kiwis, we pull together, we help each other out. It's what we do," he said.

29062016 Photo RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King. Grant Robertson

Grant Robertson said the government needed to help quake-affected businesses in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Grant Robertson said the government needed to step in and help out those businesses.

"If you think about those in the Courtenay central precinct, we're talking about them potentially not being able to operate for several weeks.

"Now while all businesses in Wellington have had some affects, we're now talking about people who could be facing significant affects."

Mr Robertson was open to what a business package may look like.

The government doesn't have any money set aside specifically for Wellington businesses, saying the city was largely still operating, unlike Kaikoura.

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