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RESEND: Masterton apartment red-stickered after 6.2 quake

RESEND: Masterton apartment red-stickered after 6.2 quake

(Fixes quake magnitude in headline, lead)

By Suze Metherell

Jan. 21 (BusinessDesk) – One Masterton building has been red stickered and roads in the area are cracked after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook the lower North Island yesterday, while surrounding district councils report superficial damage to public property.

The CBD residential apartment building is being inspected by engineers today, and the Masterton District Council expects to have a report this evening on whether or not the 15 affected residents can return to their home council chief executive Wes ten Hove told BusinessDesk. Two other privately-owned buildings had also been queried after cracks were seen on their walls.

Public buildings in the area had no reports of damage so far, but roads had been affected by the quake.

“The most significant and obvious cracks are the number of roads that will definitely require repair,” ten Hove said. The district council and the New Zealand Transport Authority would share the road repairs cost between them, he said.

Yesterday’s quake briefly sent a ripple through financial markets, with headlines prompting a sharp drop in the New Zealand dollar before it recovered later in the afternoon. The impact of earthquakes in New Zealand have come under greater scrutiny since a 2011 quake in Canterbury levelled much of the country’s second-biggest city, killing 185 people.

The Reserve Bank forecasts that the Canterbury rebuild will cost $40 billion, while Treasury anticipates the government faces a $100 million bill from last July’s 5.7 magnitude quake in the Cook Strait.

Masterton council’s ten Hove said there had been a few books off the shelves in the library, but public buildings were fine but “we’ll be looking to make sure the integrity of our public buildings have not been compromised.”

Bridges in the district are still being tested, but there have been no reports of damage, nor has there been any damage to waste water, he said. There have been reports of a few chimneys falling in.

Palmerston North also suffered several chimney collapses and other minor superficial damages. The council is still checking buildings on the city’s earthquake prone building list.

“Yesterday, council staff assessed infrastructure in the city and luckily we have escaped with minor damage,” Palmerston North City Council head of emergency management Stewart Davies said in an emailed statement. “We’ve identified some superficial damage such as door frames twisting, however to date nothing structural has been identified.”

South Wairarapa also survived the quake unscathed, according to the district’s Mayor Adrienne Staples. “Here in the South Wairarapa it seems to be mainly superficial,” Staples told BusinessDesk. “Our engineers have checked everything. There is nothing that’s affected our operations.”

(BusinessDesk)

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