14 May 2017

Kaikōura businesses at risk over winter - Mayor

1:37 pm on 14 May 2017

Kaikōura's mayor is warning even more businesses could fall over during the quiet winter season.

Winston Gray, Mayor if Kaikoura

Kaikōura's mayor, Winston Gray. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The tourist town is still struggling to recover since a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck six months ago today.

Winston Gray said the closure of State Highway 1 meant visitor numbers were already down by about a third, but the winter season would be even worse.

"There's a lot of small, family operations in Kaikōura...There's no doubt it's tough for them and there may be some that don't survive."

He hoped they would be in a good position when the road reopened before Christmas so they could make the most of it.

The government's wage subsidies and business support packages should help most people get through, he said.

There were also some bright patches on the horizon, said Mr Gray.

The dredging and deepening of the harbour was crucial, he said, and would hopefully be finished in October.

That meant the fleet of whale watch boats could return, and cruise ship tenders could come in.

"One of the great things in Kaikoura is we have experienced support from across the country and other councils, and people have really come onboard and have offered to help physically and financially."

The support had been very uplifting for the community, he said.