Prime Minister David Cameron has sent his "deepest sympathies and condolences" to the people of New Zealand following the devastating earthquake in Christchurch.
The PM said Britain “stands ready to provide whatever assistance is required” and is deploying a search and rescue team.
Mr Cameron said:
The people of New Zealand have been hit by a devastating earthquake not once but twice in a matter of months, and I want to pay tribute to their resilience.
They have our deepest sympathies and condolences. I’ve been in touch with my good friend, Prime Minister John Key. He knows that Britain stands ready to provide whatever assistance is required in support of the local emergency services. We’ve agreed to send a search and rescue team, which is deploying immediately.
Our High Commissioner is on her way to Christchurch as we speak to see if there’s anything more we can do. We’re also scaling up our resources in-country; reinforcements to our consular team will arrive today with more on standby to ensure we do all we can to help any affected British nationals.
There are many people in Britain with ties of friendship or family to New Zealand. They will be following events particularly closely and with understandable anxiety, but I also believe I speak on behalf of everyone in our country when I say that we all stand with New Zealand at this moment, at this dark and difficult hour.