Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Quake wage support extended to large businesses

Rahul Bhandari faced dozens of smashed bottles in his Kaikoura store after the earthquake. Photo / Alan Gibson
Rahul Bhandari faced dozens of smashed bottles in his Kaikoura store after the earthquake. Photo / Alan Gibson

A wage subsidy package for small businesses in Kaikoura and nearby communities will be extended to larger businesses.

The Government's employment subsidy will now be available to all companies in Kaikoura, Cheviot, Waiau, Rotherham, Mt Lyford and Ward that have a large drop in revenue because of the earthquakes.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley confirmed the extension this afternoon.

"After talking with the mayor and businesses in the area, it's clear that we need to include the larger affected businesses as well to achieve our aim of sustaining the district through the tough times still ahead," Joyce said.

"The really unique aspect in Kaikoura is the complete loss of the road access north and south. That has a particularly dramatic impact on the larger tourism businesses in Kaikoura."

The Labour Party has previously raised concerns about limiting relief to small companies, saying that it would exclude important industries such as whale-watching.

The wage subsidies are part of a $7.5 million business package announced by the Government last Thursday.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has also announced a $5 million support package for farmers and fishers in the region.

Yesterday, Guy confirmed the temporary closure of the crayfish, paua and seaweed fisheries along the quake-affected east coast of the South Island.

- NZ Herald

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