Wellington economic agency confident of bounce-back following earthquake

Wellington's economic activity has bounced back to relative normality after the CBD shutdown following this week's earthquake.

Tuesday's magnitude 7.5 quake shut down the inner-city, but Wellington's Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) said the city's economic activity is "rapidly returning to relative normality".

WREDA chief executive Chris Whelan said Wellingtonians have responded well to the disruption in the region.

"It's been pleasing to see so many businesses returning swiftly to full operation.

"Many Wellington companies and organistations have shown great capacity to have staff work remotely, and well-managed building inspection procedures have enabled tens of thousands of Wellingtonians to return to work swiftly and safely."

Whelan said structural effects on some buildings will cause challenges.

"The reports we're seeing indicate that less than half of one per cent of commercial buildings in Wellington City have experienced significant structural damage. That's a tremendously resilient result overall."

He said cafes, bars and retailers were among the first to open their doors after the quake hit on Monday.

"Hotels in the city are all open, we have multi-day conferences at the Michael Fowler Centre, TSB Bank Arena and Shed 6, and performances at venues throughout Wellington."

Whelan said that a short-term effect on Wellington's economic performance is expected.

"Following the last decent shake in 2013, business confidence in Wellington recovered rapidly.

"Longer-term, the events of this week have reinforced the argument for further investment in Wellington's infrastructure."

Whelan said earthquakes are "a fact of life in New Zealand".

"Wellington's seismic resilience has developed over many decades, and continues to improve, as this week has demonstrated.

"Damage to the city has been limited, nobody was seriously hurt, transport networks are up and running and Wellington was largely back in business within 48 hours."

- NZ Herald

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