Christchurch earthquake: Most firms open for business

By Jarrod Booker

Most Christchurch businesses are up and running after the major earthquake that struck the city, a survey has found.

The four-day survey of almost 400 businesses has confirmed initial findings that more than 92 per cent of those contacted are operating after the 7.1-magnitude quake damaged many buildings and disrupted water and electricity supplies.

The survey by Canterbury's Economic Recovery Group found that of those businesses not open for trading, the majority expected to have fully recovered within a month.

The positive results come as a group of architects and urban designers offered to work free to help shape the vision of a new Christchurch arising from the quake.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the survey results were very heartening.

"While we are enormously sympathetic for those for whom the recovery may take much longer, we can be proud, as a community, of our response to this natural disaster and our ability to carry on," he said.

"The survey has shown that business is open, the majority have insurance and people are being paid.

We are in good shape here."

The working group which will help shape the future of Christchurch will be fronted by noted Wellington architect Ian Athfield. It will develop ideas for filling "gaps" left after buildings were damaged beyond repair.

The New Zealand Institute of Architects came forward with the offer of free expertise, and will bring in experts in related fields to contribute to the "think tank".

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker called the offer "manna from heaven". He said the working group would not make decisions on the future architecture of Christchurch, but would develop ideas for the community to have their say on.

- NZ Herald

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