'Santa Claus not coming' for locked out Wellington businesses, residents




Some Wellington residents and businesses say they are being "financially crippled" because they are still locked out of their buildings after the November 14 earthquake.

The Government has provided a relief package for businesses, but many aren't eligible.

The government has provided a relief package, but not all businesses are eligible.
Source: 1 NEWS

An inner city bar evacuated after the quake is cordoned off because a nearby cinema car park is at risk of collapse.

The bar owner, Greig Wilson, says all the stock is still inside, perishing.

He was also due to open a new bar next door this week, but he's locked out during the busiest month of the year.

"It's a little bit like Santa Claus ringing up saying that he's not coming this year."

The Government will help some businesses pay their staff, but not if they have continuity insurance, leaving up to 90 per cent of businesses ineligible, according to some estimates.  

Mr Wilson is insured, but the past three weeks isn't covered under his policy, so he's around $50,000 out of pocket.

"Some businesses will probably go broke if this carries on. We've been giving our staff some loans to help them pay the rent, to help them buy food. And to find out or staff aren't eligible for this Government scheme just seems ludicrous," he said.

it's really tough"
Pete MacDonald, resident evacuated near Reading carpark

But the Government is adamant the handout is only for those without insurance.

"We will help with retention of permanent, full-time and part-time staff through this period. But it's not going to make up for turnover they've lost, and we just can't do that," said Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

Around the corner, some residents evacuated near the Reading car park say they feel forgotten.

Pete MacDonald is one of them and is struggling to pay for temporary accommodation.

"Any form of help or assistance in way shape or form would be good, it's really tough," he said.

"It's $580 a week I don't really have on top of the mortgage payments. We've got to keep paying for our place. It's financially crippling."

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