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Published: 2011-02-22 00:00:00

Waikato councils are being asked to establish a collective mayoral relief fund to help Christchurch in the wake of the latest devastating earthquake.

Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group chairman Hugh Vercoe, the mayor of Matamata-Piako District Council, took the initiative today.

“I am asking my counterparts in other districts to have their offices act as collection points for this joint fund. The aim is to allow for people to make cash donations at any council office.”

The various Civil Defence emergency operating areas in the region have also been asked to look at what personnel and other resources they may be able to make available to assist Christchurch if requested by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. Any assistance from the Waikato will coordinated through the Group Emergency Coordination Centre based at Environment Waikato in Hamilton.

“We want to establish quickly what we can offer Christchurch following the latest quake. We sent people down to help after the quake in September last year and their assistance was greatly appreciated,” Mr Vercoe said.

Another initiative was asking people in the Waikato to make available, for up to a month, holiday homes or other accommodation that could be used to temporarily house people made homeless by the quake.

“We are keen to offer our fellow New Zealanders in Christchurch the sorts of practical assistance they need to cope with yet another tragedy,” said Mr Vercoe.

People offering accommodation should contact their local council offices, he said.