And now there is some good news from Kaikoura.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has told POLITIK that the road from the south into Kaikoura may be able to be fixed relatively quickly.

He said work had already begun and contractors were working their way up to the two biggest slips.

“I’ve got a reasonable degree of confidence that we are going to be able to work our way through that part of the road from Kaikoura south down to Canterbury in a reasonably conventional way with the road, for the most part, being able to be put back together as it was.

He said that would take “a period of months”, but it would be a considerably shorter time frame than what is going to be required to repair the road to the north of Kaikoura.

“That’s going to be much more difficult because there are much larger, unstable slips and the challenges mean the road may well need to be relatively significantly changed,” he said.

While this is going on the Government will need to more or less continuously work on the inland replacement route for the trip from Picton to Christchurch.

With the realisation that the northern part of State Highway One will be out of action for some considerable time, the shipping companies are able to develop longer term plans, and POLITIK understands that one, Pacifica, have already begun work to charter an extra ship.

Their services from Auckland and Tauranga to Lyttelton, Nelson and Port Chalmers avoid Wellington which because of damage suffered by CentrePort is beginning to emerge as a chokepoint in the supply chain to the South Island.


One ship with 400 containers on board destined for Wellington has had to drop them at Nelson because Wellington’s container cranes are out of action.

POLITIK understands that CentrePort will make a major statement today outlining exactly how the port has been hit and what its future might be.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Government’s amendments to the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Bill will be in the House next week.

These will bring forward the start date for the implementation of the Bill and will include the extra powers to allow the Government to proceed with work on the roads without needing Resource Management Act consent.

Labour has been briefed on the changes and Leader Andrew Little says they will support them but the Government believes the Greens will oppose them.

The principle issue will be dumping debris from the slips into the sea.

For Treasury, the earthquake means an urgent recalculation of the Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update due on December 8.

But along with other pressures that are building up on Government spending, it may be that the HYEFU shows larger deficits and possibly even some more borrowing than might originally have been preferred.

However, the Government also believes that the earthquake may not be negative for growth, in part because any losses will be balanced by the extra money coming into the economy to pay for the restoration of the road.