PM announces national state of emergency

Article – BusinessDesk

Feb. 23 (BusinessDesk) – Prime Minister John Key today announced the imposition of a national state of emergency to deal with the Christchurch earthquake aftermath.

PM announces national state of emergency

By Paul McBeth

Feb. 23 (BusinessDesk) – Prime Minister John Key today announced the imposition of a national state of emergency.

Key said it was too early to estimate the cost of yesterday’s quake, which has killed at least 75 people, with another 100,000 claims on top of the existing 180,000 claims from the first disaster.

The Earthquake Commission will cover the first $1.5 billion with reinsurers looking at paying the next $2.5 billion, leaving the remainder to local insurers and the government, Key told a press conference in Wellington today.

“We can afford that, but obviously that’s a significant dent in resources of both the EQC and a significant impact on reinsurers to the tune of $5 billion” for both quakes, he said.

Key said the difference between the two events was that the September quake had a bigger impact on residential property, whereas yesterday’s disaster will hit the commercial sector and lead to a complete revamp of the central business district in the country’s second-biggest city.

That meant it will take longer for the city’s businesses to get up and running, and “the CBD will be operationally quiet for quite some time,” he said.

Gerry Brownlee, the minister responsible for the earthquake recovery, may focus on rebuilding Christchurch, temporarily handing over his economic development and energy portfolios to other ministers, Key said.

The quake may impact on the Rugby World Cup later this year, with several hotels badly damaged, limiting its ability to accommodate an influx of tourists, and RWC Minister Murray McCully will look at that issue, Key said.


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