Thousands take up earthquake support package offer

11:20 pm on 1 March 2011

More than 10,000 people have already been signed up for the Government's earthquake support package, barely a day after it was announced .

The six-week package, expected to cost up to $120 million, includes providing wage subsidies of $500 a week for full-time staff, and $300 for part-time employees.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says 1718 employers with 8271staff, and another 1516 sole traders, have already taken up the assistance.

Under the package, workers out of a job are also eligible for up to $400 a week.

Ms Bennett says the job loss cover has been taken up by 788 people and the first payments will be in banks by Wednesday.

Another $4 million has been paid out in emergency civil defence payments to cover such things as food, clothing, petrol and accommodation.

Ms Bennett says eight Work and Income offices are open in Christchurch and there are seven mobile vans travelling to hard-hit areas, such as east of the city.