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Published: 2011-02-23 00:00:00

The Waikato response to the Canterbury earthquake is continuing this morning with the finalising of details of a collective mayoral relief fund and the assistance the region can offer Christchurch.

Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group chairman Hugh Vercoe, the mayor of Matamata Piako District Council, last night took the initiative of starting to organise a regional relief fund that would receive cash donations at local council offices.

At this stage, details of a combined relief bank account to hold donations are being finalised. People are asked to hold off making donations until those details are finalised. Council offices are asked to hang on to donations in the meantime if people turn up to make them. Mr Vercoe said he intended that each council area’s donations would be recognised individually when funds collected were sent in.

Another initiative asked 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.

People offering accommodation should contact their local council offices, Mr Vercoe said. Those offers of assistance will be coordinated by the Waikato Group Emergency Coordination Centre (GECC) based at Environment Waikato in Hamilton.

The various Civil Defence emergency operating areas in the region have 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 be coordinated through the GECC.

“Waikato Civil Defence is keen to play its part in the national and international effort to assist Christchurch,” said Mr Vercoe.