Getting behind Christchurch
It’s a week today since a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Christchurch destroying the CBD and ending the lives of what’s feared to be 200 people. As the focus shifts to recovery, it’s estimated the cost of rebuilding Christchurch will be as much as NZ$20 billion – including the damage by the earlier quake on 4 September 2010.
Late yesterday the New Zealand Government announced a NZ$100 million+ six week support package for businesses and workers affected, which can be applied for online. This is a start toward what is going to be a long and hard recovery. Over recent days we’ve been in contact with a number of our customers and partners who have been through what they describe as a ‘nightmare’.
The offices of Xero customer and software development company Polar Bear Farm are a mass of mangled debris as these before and after shots show.
Polar Bear Farm founder Layton Duncan and his colleagues escaped unscathed but he will never forget running for shelter under a door frame to see the 19” server rack “bending and flexing what must have been a metre or so side to side, like a tall column of jelly”. You can read Layton’s experiences here.
As people grieve for friends who are still missing and come to grips with the fact their home has been condemned, the question of livelihood is the next focus. Xero Partner Paul Dawson of Numbiz predicts small business will be hit really hard. “A lot of my clients were already struggling to get back on their feet after the last earthquake,” he says.
“I think that Canterbury will need to take a collaborative approach to the recovery and I think there is a chance to rewrite the rules so to speak for a more sustainable future”.
We wholeheartedly agree and at Xero we’ll be doing all we can to help make this happen. While we’ve heard from some partners looking to relocate out of town after losing homes and offices, others such as Melanie Morris of Training & Beyond are rallying to help kick start a recovery on the ground. Today Melanie opened the Christchurch Business Recovery Centre at 201 Opawa Road.
Xero will help fund the centre which aims to help small business people get back on their feet. Services include access to stationery, office equipment, computers and internet access; a place for mail to be re-directed to; meeting and boardroom facilities, as well as business advisory services and help to access business relief packages. ” While there a quite a few websites popping up offering virtual services, we offer a physical presence which is what many people who have lost everything need,” says Melanie.
Assisting Melanie and her team at the centre will be staff from Xero Partner DJCA. They are ready to help with earthquake insurance, cashflow claims and in whatever way they can to ease the pressure of coming months.
As well as the offer of support at the recovery centre, Christchurch partners and customers can contact our Customer Care team to talk things through. There’s a way to go yet, but we’re here to help.