Wellington cordon to extend ahead of quake demolition

4:54 pm on 23 December 2016

A cordon on Wellington's Tory Street is expanding to include two more businesses, as preparations are made for the destruction of an earthquake-damaged carpark.

The cordon around the quake-damaged Reading cinema carpark in central Wellington.

The cordon around the quake-damaged Reading cinema carpark in central Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Jacob McSweeny

The cordon - which has been in place since soon after last month's devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake - will extend next week.

The closure of businesses affected by the cordon could last up to three months.

The cordon around the quake-damaged Reading Cinemas carpark in central wellington.

The cordon around the quake-damaged Reading Cinemas carpark in central wellington. Photo: RNZ / Jacob McSweeny

Hundreds of people have also been unable to go home or work, as nearby buildings have been behind the cordon since shortly after the Kaikōura quake.

A demolition crane will be moved from Molesworth Street to begin taking down the Reading Carpark, which was found to have structural damage after the quake.

The road closure at the Wakefield Street end of Tory Street will extend on Tuesday to include mechanics Brendon Motors and Joe's Garage.

The extended cordon in central wellington will force the Brendon Motors outlet to close for months.

The extended cordon in central Wellington will force the Brendon Motors outlet to close for months. Photo: RNZ / Jacob McSweeny

Brendon Motors manager Lizette Standish said staff there would be moved to other branches in Wellington, but closing down that location would hurt financially.

"Definitely our profits have dropped off, but we're still able to work, so we've still been able to do what we needed to do, until today. And we were closed anyway for Christmas holidays, and then we're back in hopefully March, but we are just moving up the road to our other branch."

Ms Standish said the company would still need to pay for rent and electricity while the store was closed.

The cordon in central Wellington.

The cordon in central Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Jacob McSweeny

Moana Mackey, a member of the city council's earthquake recovery team, said the extended cordon would hurt those businesses.

But she said public safety was paramount.

"We've been keeping in regular contact with these businesses. Everything that's been done around the cordon has been done for public safety.

"We're taking advice on what needs to happen with the cordon to make sure that we keep people safe during the period of the demolition."

Reading carpark demolition timeline

- December 18-22: Loading hard-fill to protect the road before crane is set up

- December 27: Cordon will be extended to include Brendan Motors and Joe's Garage

- December 28: High reach demolition crane reaches Tory Street and is set up

- January 4, 2017: Demolition begins

- End of March 2017: Demolition expected to finish

Statistics House: damage from 14 November earthquake

Shattered glass at the entrance to Statistics House after the 14 November earthquake. Photo: Statistics NZ

Damage at Statistics House

Statistics New Zealand has released new pictures showing the scale of the damage to the department's building on the Wellington harbourside.

A concrete floor support unit fell in the 14 November earthquake.

A concrete floor support unit fell in the 7.8 earthquake. Photo: Statistics NZ

The images show broken glass over the entrance, a collapsed concrete floor support unit, and buckled paths outside the building.

Since the headquarters was closed, Statistics NZ has leased temporary offices in the city, and is awaiting final word on the building's future.

Damage to Statistics House after the 14 November 2016 quake.

Inside Statistics House Photo: Statistics NZ

The photos were taken by Statistics NZ staff. No video footage is available as any that may have been captured on internal CCTV cameras is still inside the building.

The department said it had not received any written reports, including engineering reports, on damage and did not expect to while the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment investigation was continuing.

Statistics House: damage outside the building from the 14 November 2016 quake.

Footpaths outside the building were buckled. Photo: Statistics NZ

Employee support subsidy extended

Meanwhile, the government has extended the employee support subsidy for quake-affected businesses in Wellington and Hurunui District.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said this would provide assurance to those businesses which have been prevented from operating and will be unable to do so for some time.

The subsidy will be extended for another eight weeks to 5 March.

It means the government will pay $500 gross per week for a full time employee and $300 for a part time employee.

Up to $17.5 million has been set aside for the total business support package.

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