The popular tourist spot of Kaikoura has been completely isolated. “The Prime Minister and I have now seen first-hand the numerous major slips, which have isolated Kaikoura from the north and south,” he said. “The widespread destruction caused by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks will take considerable time and resources to repair.
“The roads and railways are things that can be repaired in time but it’s important to think of those who lost their lives today or suffered injuries.
“Our immediate priority is ensuring delivery of clean water, food and other essentials to the residents of Kaikoura and the estimated 1,000 tourists in the town.”
He added that another priority is clearing the inland route to Kaikoura from the south. “Once reopened, this important access link will help with the delivery of supplies and building materials to Kaikoura.”
Other areas affected by yesterday’s earthquakes and consequential landslides - including Hanmer, Waiau and Marlborough - have adequate communication and supplies at this stage, said Brownlee. “This has been a trying day for communities across many parts of the country, particularly those on the east coast of the South Island and Wellington region.