Civil Defence has met key business groups to discuss concerns over access to Christchurch's quake-ravaged central business district (CBD).

"We understand the frustrations felt by business owners and believe it is important to keep talking positively with them to firstly hear about their concerns and then work to resolve them," Civil Defence Minister John Carter said.

Earlier this week some business owners picketed Civil Defence headquarters and forced their way through the central city cordon before being removed by police.

However, tensions appear to be easing.

Mr Carter and national Civil Defence controller Steve Brazier last night met business groups, including the Central City Business Association, the New Zealand Retailers' Association, the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Canterbury Business Recovery Group.

Mr Brazier was assessing damage to buildings in the CBD so Civil Defence could let businesspeople know if and when they could gain access to their businesses.

"The sooner they know that, the sooner they can start working with their insurance companies and plan for business continuity," Mr Carter said.

However, safety was always paramount.

"...there will be some cases, due to the impact of the earthquake, where businesses will never be able to retrieve property or stock."

Mr Brazier earlier said Civil Defence planned to create "safe corridors" to buildings within the CBD and controlled access to some of the red zone via the corridors would start from Monday.

A moratorium on demolishing buildings in the CBD was extended until Friday.

During the meeting, people also raised concerns about looting in the damaged red zone and Civil Defence was working to secure property by locking doors, Mr Carter said.

Canterbury police have urged people with vehicles stuck in the CBD to give their keys to police.

Police, the New Zealand Defence Force and Urban Search and Rescue have recovered 2125 vehicles from the cordoned area.

Senior Sergeant Graham Reeves, head of the operation, said people should bring their car keys, reasonable proof of ownership and some photo identification to the vehicle recovery team at Hagley Park.

Mr Reeves said recovered vehicles were kept at a secure site, which was monitored by police and security guards.

Meanwhile, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said a decision about which Christchurch suburbs would be rebuilt would not be made until he had received a geotechnical report.

Several suburbs sustained significant damage after last month's earthquake and Mr Brownlee said it was an exercise that could not be rushed.

As many as 10,000 houses in Christchurch may also have to be demolished and thousands of residents permanently relocated.

Cantabrians are also facing redundancies and the demolition of their homes.

Almost 100 employees, including waiting and service personnel and chambermaids, at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Christchurch will lose their jobs tomorrow.

The hotel has guaranteed a month's wages after the quake and the workers have also been paid an additional notice period and redundancy pay.

The building will need to be demolished but the owners plan to rebuild in Christchurch.

Twenty-four Christchurch Arts Centre staff have also lost their jobs, following the deadly quake on February 22.

Statistics New Zealand said 8928 students, who were enrolled in Christchurch, Selwyn or Waimakariri schools before the quake, had re-enrolled in other schools nationwide.

- NZPA