Time To Put Rescue Choppers On Sounder Financial Footing

New Zealand First wants the government to put rescue helicopter services in provincial New Zealand on a solid financial footing with far greater help from the Ministry of Health, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“That’s because so much of the rescue helicopter services’ work involves emergency accident and health services.

“Crucial rescue helicopter services such as Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) should not have to rely on public donations and loans from local councils to get the money they need to survive.

“NEST is getting a $10 million loan through the Northland Regional Council (NRC) to replace two helicopters, on top of the $525,000 a year NRC ratepayers have been forking out for the last eight years for the rescue service.

“NEST transports thousands of patients every year. It is a critical service for Northlanders, and visitors both local and international, and must be treated as such. It is a most important adjunct to our tourism sell which is so reliant upon regions like Northland.

“Without the staff, volunteers and public donations there would be no rescue helicopter for Northland, and we need to put their funding on a sounder footing,” says Mr Peters.