Kaikoura: ‘SH1 is our lifeline, we need it’

Residents of Kaikoura, the New Zealand town closest to the recent earthquake, have begged the government to reopen State Highway 1 as quickly as possible.

 
 

quake
The highway is the main route to the tourist town, and estimates say it could take months to reopen it after it suffered significant damage during the quake.

But businesses in the town fear that government funding will not be enough to sustain them through the tourist season, let alone the quieter winter months.

Dwayne Fussell, owner of Coastal Sports, said on Radio NZ that the 7 million dollars allocated to the town would not be enough without the highway: “The general feeling is, it won’t get us through.

“If you don’t make that [money] through the December, January months, you’re not here the following summer.

“The house, the mortgage, the business – everything is on the line.

“People might come and camp, but the infrastructure will be gone. SH1 is our lifeline. We need it.”

Peketa Beach Holiday Park owner Eve Parkin agreed: “This was going to be another bumper year for us.

“We had a fantastic year last year and it was proving very positive with the forward bookings that we’ve got.

“It’s just soul-destroying.

“They’re coming in, shopping at our local supermarkets and fuelling up. It gives the town a huge boost and when they can’t stay with us, it’s an effect the whole town will feel.

“It’ll ripple right through.”

 
 

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