Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee earlier confirmed there were reports of casualties in Kaikoura.
“What the extent of that is is not yet reported. Property damage is going to be pretty much as you see it, and of course it will become clearer, I suspect, with daylight.”
The extent of the casualties was unclear, and he did not yet know how many people could be injured.
He had been messaging the Prime Minister throughout the night and the New Zealand Defence Force was on standby, Brownlee said.
Speaking from the Beehive’s civil defence bunker, Brownlee said the quake had been felt “extensively”.
“There will be a lot of people out there very unnerved by this. The sort of holding hand you can put out to anyone who is distressed would be very welcome.”
NOTICE: This morning’s articles were posted last night. If any of them appear insensitive or otherwise inappropriate under the current circumstances, please remember they were written before the quake occurred. Clearly, our collective problems are a little more involved than taking pot shots at people in politics.