clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Long outage sparks outrage in New Zealand

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters on Monday called for a full-scale inquiry into the freak electricity crisis that has paralyzed the financial heart of the country's largest city.

The full impact of the Auckland power fiasco began to hit hundreds of businesses including the port authority, telecommunications and banks as the working week began.Peters said the situation was serious and he would be asking for the inquiry during Monday's Cabinet meeting.

"I think the circumstances demand answers and they demand them very, very soon," he told Radio New Zealand.

The city's central business district stuttered to barely perceptible life at first light as central Auckland awoke to the first business day of at least a week without power.

Pedestrian flow on the "Golden Mile" of Queen Street was a fraction of the usual, with most banks closed for business.

Fast food chains had closed their doors, but there were pockets of com-mercial activity where power remained or had been supplemented by generators.

"This place is the pits - you can't get anything to eat," said one morn-ing shopper.

Diesel generators, many hurriedly installed over the weekend, droned away in office garages and on street corners.

Many traffic lights were out and police were controlling the busier intersections.

Telecom Corp of New Zealand advised customers to limit mobile phone use as much as possible in the inner city, where its mobile network was running at reduced capacity.