New Zealand hotelier hires crane to get his possessions

According to a media report, John Butterfield, who co-owns a shopping mall and other property in the city, has sparked outrage from people who have not been allowed back into their homes and businesses five weeks after the February 22 quake.

Butterfield was overseas when the quake hit, but when he returned home on March 13 he found he was still unable to get into his apartment, because it was inside the so-called "red zone" -- part of the city's central business district where no one has been allowed because of the on-going danger posed by damaged buildings.

While many business and property owners have been upset at the forced lock-out, Butterfield arranged for a crane to swing him over the balcony of his 13th-floor penthouse apartment so he could collect the keys to both his and his wife's Mercedes cars, clothes and personal effects.

He then removed the vehicles from the apartment building carpark.Butterfield told a daily 'The Star' that he went through "all the right channels" to get a crane into the heavily guarded red zone, but several people have expressed their anger on this.

An estimated 182 people were killed in the quake which left thousands of homes and businesses badly damaged in New Zealand's second-largest city.

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