10 Oct 2012

Franz Josef locals call on PM's help

10:53 am on 10 October 2012

A community group in the South Island town of Franz Josef is hoping the Prime Minister will order a full earthquake hazard assessment of the popular tourist destination.

Locals fear for the future of the town after Westland District Council proposed to rezone half the commercial area because it sits over the Alpine Fault.

Under the plan, business owners will not be able to expand or develop their properties in any way.

Community group spokesperson Marcel Fekkes says the proposal will destroy the value of about 40 businesses.

He says the group wants to get a comprehensive assessment of the risks facing the township, and has asked John Keyto help create such a report.

MrFekkes says the community group is planning for its long term future the town, which caters to more than a million visitors a year, and wants to ensure it is safe and can attract further investment.