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Earthquake support package available immediately

Earthquake support package available immediately

The initial earthquake support package for employers and employees is available now and the first payments will be in bank accounts by Wednesday says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“There is a lot of uncertainty over whether jobs and businesses will continue in Christchurch, so this measure will help ensure people can pay the bills for the next few weeks,” says Ms Bennett.

The six week package includes the Earthquake Support Subsidy to help Christchurch based employers keep paying wages and the Earthquake Job Loss Cover is for employees who may not have a job to go back to.

The package is not available to Government employees (who will continue to get paid), or businesses which are headquartered outside Christchurch.

“There may be exceptions to this, so we’d encourage people to call us to talk it through,” says Ms Bennett.

“People can apply online, over the phone or they can come into Work and Income, but they will need their IRD number and a bank account number to speed the process,” says Ms Bennett.

To apply online go to: www.workandincome.govt.nz

To apply by phone call: 0800 779997

There are seven Work and Income offices open in Christchurch today:
• Ashburton Community Link, cnr Cass and Moore Streets
• Hornby Service Centre, 25 Shands Road
• Rangiora Service Centre, cnr Good and Blake Streets
• Riccarton Service Centre, 76 Riccarton Road
• Kaiapoi Community Link, 77 Hilton Street
• Shirley Service Centre, 203-205 Hills Road
• Linwood Community Link, 154 Aldwins Road

“Of course the impact of the earthquake is not only financial, so we’re also backing organisations to provide support services and counselling,” says Ms Bennett.

Funding will be available to NGOs to provide more fulltime co-ordinators and case managers for Victim Support, Relationship Services and Salvation Army to provide the right services to people who need it.

“We have $3.5million available for support services and are already taking applications,” says Ms Bennett.

A support helpline 0800 777 846 is running for people to call and talk things through.

“This Government is committed to providing the assistance to help the people of Christchurch get back on their feet,” says Ms Bennett.

ends

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Gordon Campbell:
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