Engineering, Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail

Kaikōura quake impact $500 million, report says

The New Zealand government has released a commissioned report revealing the economic impact of the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016.

Minister for economic development and transport, Simon Bridges, said that the report indicated the toll the earthquake had had on small businesses and tourism due to the disruption and damage it inflicted on transport systems and other infrastructure.

“The quake has had a significant effect on people’s lives and businesses which the government is strongly focused on supporting. As well as the Kaikōura economy, the report shows the national economy has also felt the impact,” Bridges said.

“Increased freight transport costs and impacts on businesses from infrastructure damage and transport disruptions are the two key contributing factors.”

The report estimates that the impact on New Zealand’s GDP over the first 18 months after the earthquake is approximately $450 to $500 million, made up of between $110 to $130 million in Canterbury and between $340 to $370 million across the remainder of the country.

The government has so far responded with initiatives that include work to reinstate and upgrade highway routes, the issuing of business and industry support packages, a grant for the restoration of Kaikōura Harbour, and provision of temporary accommodation and housing support for residents.

“The government has committed significant resources to getting businesses in the most affected communities back on their feet and repairing or replacing infrastructure,” the minister stated.

“The government is focused on providing a coordinated and rapid response and ensuring it is targeted to where it will be most effective and best placed to return affected areas to pre-quake levels.”