Govt pledges to do all it can for residents

4:53 am on 23 February 2011

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says the Government will do all it can to help the people of Christchurch following Tuesday's fatal earthquake.

A shallow 6.3-magnitude quake hit the central city at 12.51pm. At least 65 people have died and many are still missing after buildings collapsed.

Christchurch is still recovering from a 7.1-magnitude quake that hit the Canterbury region on 4 September last year, causing widespread damage but no deaths.

The Cabinet met twice on Tuesday to discuss the Government's initial response to the quake and was to hold a third meeting on Wednesday morning.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has cut short a trip to the Middle East and is due back in New Zealand on Tuesday night.

Mr English, who is also the Minister of Finance, has passed special approval for emergency spending to enable the Government to cover any up-front costs.