Capital offices invited to Whanganui

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Whanganui can offer cheap office accommodation to Wellington, Mayor Hamish McDouall says. PHOTO/ FILE
Whanganui can offer cheap office accommodation to Wellington, Mayor Hamish McDouall says. PHOTO/ FILE

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall has been offering accommodation here to government departments made homeless by earthquake damage in Wellington.

He was in the capital on Friday. The number of quake-affected buildings there was being increased almost hourly, he said.

It was "blindingly obvious" that at least one government building would not be habitable for 18 months.

He's been talking with politicians and government departments about ways Whanganui can help.

Ministries and departments affected included ACC, statistics, justice and defence. Private sector offices have also been damaged.

Whanganui had a lot of accommodation to offer at relatively cheap rents, he said.

"We have a number of vacant earthquake proofed buildings that I am confident can be made available and that would be suitable accommodation for displaced organisations and businesses."

He didn't want the district to be seen as exploiting a natural disaster.

"I don't want to be the kind of guy that turns up at a funeral to get a cheap house."

But he said the offer of help could also be seen as pay back.

"Our district has had its share of emergency events in recent years and we remain grateful for the support and assistance received from throughout New Zealand during those times. Now it's our turn to pay it forward."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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