Dear partners and colleagues,
We just wanted to let you know that New Zealand is well and truly open for business and we are looking forward to welcoming your clients over the coming summer months.
The situation in Kaikoura made good progress. After hundrered of people have been evacuated via helicopters already, today (Thursday 17.11.16) at 1.30am the HMNZS Canterbury docked at Lyttleton Harbour successfully evacuating 449 people out of the quake affected community of Kaikoura. Many were tourists taken to the safety and comfort of welfare centres in Christchurch.
Also, a total of 27 Army trucks did leave Burnham Military Camp today enroute for Kaikoura. They are carrying water, diesel and fresh food to feed 250 patients and staff at Kaikoura Hospital for seven days.
Here is an update for you all on current transportation and road closures across the country:
* Cook Strait crossings are still running albeit with a limited service.
Interislander Ferry – are able to take passengers travelling by foot from Wellington to Picton. Unfortunately they are unable to accommodate Picton to Wellington foot passengers due to damage at the Picton wharf.
Bluebridge Ferry – currently have one vessel operating; The Straitsman departs Wellington at 8am and returns from Picton at 2pm. Sailings may be delayed due to weather. They are currently unable to take new bookings due to infrastructure damage.
* Work continues on clearing State Highway 70 to gain public road access to Kaikoura. The road is still high risk and is not yet open to private vehicles.
* The alternative route from Picton to Christchurch, which has been open since late Monday afternoon will likely be the main state highway route from Christchurch to Picton for several months, given the amount of work which will be required to clear the large slips which have closed SH1.
* People should allow additional two hours for the journey between Christchurch and Picton on the Lewis Pass route – average journey times between Christchurch and Picton are currently expected to take seven and a half hours.
For traffic updates visit www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic
If you and your clients have any queries or concerns about their current New Zealand plans, please advise them to phone our Emergency Phone +64 27 209 2323 for assistance.
Your APTC New Zealand Team