The Christchurch director of a national real-estate firm says early estimates of damage to the city's centre are far too conservative.
Evan Harris of Colliers says he believes estimates that a quarter of the city centre will end up being demolished are way out.
He says priority needs to be given to relocating firms operating out of those buildings so they can trade as soon as possible.
Mr Harris says a government relief package to be announced on Monday should consider cash grants to help retailers restock.
"The smaller retailers will find it difficult getting it from the banks," he says.
"The bigger ones, though, will have it easier: with 20 shops around the country you can leverage your bank and offer your other shops, and if you've got the cashflow to cover it then that's fine.
"But if you're running one shop, then the banks find it difficult to get that sort of money for those poor guys."