Grim future for businesses in post-quake Kaikoura

Kaikoura (Newshub.)
Kaikoura (Newshub.)

Businesses are coming to grips with the post-quake reality of Kaikoura, as the tourist town moves into recovery mode.

Dolphin Encounter is one of the major players in the Kaikoura business community, employing more than 50 staff.

But owner Dennis Buurman won't be getting a cent of financial help from the Government because the package is only available to businesses with up to 20 employees.

"We feel very, very disappointed," he says. "We were promised all sorts of things - frankly we were gutted."

Tourists spent $120 million in Kaikoura in the year to September. Now Mr Buurman is left wondering what might have been.

"It's sad because one of our biggest seasons last year was a record, staffed up, very positive," he says.

But he now faces an uphill struggle to keep paying wages, front up the cash for his new boat and somehow keep his head above water.

Just down the road, even those small businesses receiving help from the Government are worried.

Jason Hill owns the Coopers Catch cafe and says it's usually busy right now and he was expecting this to be the start of his best season ever.

Just a few doors down, Kathryn Exton from Allure Cafe is also trying to keep her chin up, but now faces the prospect of no tourists while still having to pay the bills.

"I really want to pick back up - but are people going to come back to Kaikoura?" she asks.

The businesses Newshub has spoken to are committed to this town but with so little certainty about their future, even staying afloat is a struggle.