14 December 2016: Today we learned of the departure of another small business from Kaikoura – Global Culture.
Business owner Browyn Chandler and her husband Jon had the dream lifestyle, according to Emma Dangerfield writing for the Kaikoura Star, spending their time between Kaikoura and Rangiora. They’d been running Global Culture for 12 years, it was “a labour of love” for them
It was only the night before the shake that she returned home after the weekend in Kaikoura feeling more positive than she had for many summers. “We had been at our busiest since the Christchurch earthquakes and I had a great team of four, the shop was looking just how we wanted it…
When the quake happened she said she felt helpless because she couldn’t help staff clear up the shop. But in her heart she knew she’d not be able to survive without making income during the coming tourist season.
Just seven days to pack up and leave
The Chandlers had to pack up and leave while working round Kaikoura Pharmacy, who’d already moved in to the premises:
It had been incredibly painful to box up the past 12 years of her business in seven days, and she still did not know what would happen to much of her stock.
The experience had not been helped by the fact Kaikoura Pharmacy had moved in already, needing a new premises from which to operate. Chandler felt it had all happened so quickly.
“I just wanted to turn the key at 5pm and shed a wee tear, like saying goodbye to a loved one.” She doesn’t know if she will be back, but is realistic about the immediate future for her business which had a customer base of about 90 per cent tourists.
“I loved the customers and I could never get tired of whale stories, or being asked where was the best place for a coffee or crayfish…
A lot of people think it’s just my little T-shirt shop, but we rely on the money… Kaikoura Star
The lease on the Chandlers’ old shop was finalised about two weeks ago, the new occupier moved four doors up the road from their damaged premises a week later.
Life goes on in the small township and essential services must be maintained. But at what cost to the small business owners who used to be the life and soul of the town?
We hear on the grapevine that “every insurance company in NZ arrived in town before the dust settled and leased every bit of spare space available.
333 Kaikoura businesses are seeking government help to survive after the devastating quake, across the country there were 482 businesses that applied. As of 30 November 230 applications had yet to be paid because they were “incomplete or contained conflicting information” source
But, as can be seen, this supposed ‘support’ hasn’t been enough to keep some businesses solvent.
No wonder people are feeling pissed off and needing to vent. On Thursday angry Kaikoura coast locals vented their quake frustrations at the new PM and his henchman, the charismatic minister of the failed Christchurch rebuild, Gerry Brownlee:
Angry and isolated locals rounded on Prime Minister Bill English and his Earthquake Commission Minister Gerry Brownlee when they made a flying visit this afternoon…
Clarence farmer, John Murray, told English: “We had a meeting here three weeks ago and Gerry was here, and we left full of hope that something was going to happen. We have sat down there for three weeks and nothing has bloody well happened and it’s shocking, it is the absolute pits.” He said progress on opening roads was too slow.
“No one has attacked this northern end, the road’s been open from Blenheim, no one’s started tidying this road up at all, they’ve made patch-up repairs all the way through and the roads from Ward and Waipapa Bay should have been upgraded and ready to go so we could just go into the next stage.
“Nothing has been done except patch up and I reckon it’s piss poor and if that’s what our Government feels about us and how they deal with emergencies then I’m afraid you have lost a lot of votes and a lot of confidence in this area.”
He was also concerned local contractors weren’t being used.
No doubt they’re concerned that the repairs are going to take as long as they did in Christchurch – 6 years already with another 4 to go. Can people wait that long for the government to get it’s act together?
Brownlee used attack as the best form of defence and fired a salvo back at the hapless farmer (we’re not going to repeat it here), attracting a barrage of derision from social media. The first tweet shows an image taken beside John Murray’s land
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