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Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced $1.2 million of additional funding for the Natural Hazards Research Platform to conduct vital research and work to support the Kaikoura earthquake recovery.

“Science helps us to understand what happened during this earthquake, how we rebuild and how we respond to future events,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“New Zealand is leading the world in earthquake science and our unique seismic events provide opportunities to make major contributions to international understanding in this field.”

In November 2016, the Government reprioritised $2 million for the urgent science response to the Kaikoura earthquake, including aerial and marine surveys, landslide observations, and GeoNet support. In December 2016, Cabinet also agreed $3 million of initial funding to develop and enhance New Zealand’s natural hazards monitoring capability.

“Further urgent demands to have science input into recovery and build decisions have emerged in the first few months of the response to the earthquake and it’s important that this work continue,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“There are a number of time limited opportunities to conduct high-value research over the next few months that will have long term benefits, such as examination of buildings before they are demolished, gathering evidence from recent geological changes, and updating subsoil assessments in Wellington before rebuilding starts.”

The new work funded includes:

Further landslide assessments, continuing on from work started in November. Updating subsoil assessments in Wellington and assessing pre-cast concrete construction. Incorporating slow-slip earthquakes and new land deformation into hazards models.

“If we are to better protect lives and critical infrastructure in future seismic events, we must make use of the opportunity to research the Kaikoura quake, and learn as much as possible so that we can be as prepared as possible,” says Mr Goldsmith.

For more information see www.naturalhazards.org.nz.

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