New Zealand extends emergency in quake-hit Christchurch

New Zealand authorities on Wednesday extended a state of emergency in earthquake-damaged Christchurch by 24 hours.

The state of emergency in three areas of the city and surrounding regions following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on September 4 had been due to end at midday Wednesday (0000GMT).

“Civil defence officials and the three mayors (in the affected areas) believe it is important to err on the side of caution by extending the states of emergency across the three districts until 12 noon tomorrow,” Civil Defence Minister John Carter said in a statement.

The delay on lifting the emergency comes after the government pushed through laws late Tuesday to cut red tape during the reconstruction of Christchurch, which suffered damage worth 2.7 billion US dollars in the quake.