Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Speaking Notes for Murray Bolton, Chairman

AUCKLAND RESCUE HELICOPTER TRUST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014


Speaking Notes for Murray Bolton, Chairman

Good morning.

As most of you are aware, I am Murray Bolton, Chairman of the Board of Auckland Regional Rescue Helicopter Trust.

The submission today on behalf of our essential helicopter rescue service is to reinstate the sum of $1,350,000 – the full amount applied for in the 2014/15 year.

We submit that in yet again slashing funding for our essential rescue service, you have acted unfairly, irrationally and unlawfully and – we suspect – under undue influence from those whose funding you have continually increased.

It is possible to consider the 2014/15 situation only in the context of the pattern over previous years.

You will have seen this graph on page three of our submission.

It shows you have continually cut the funding for our essential rescue service even as you have increased the funding for all other amenities such as the philharmonia orchestra and opera.

We submit that you have not met your statutory obligations to provide adequate, sustainable and secure funding to the essential rescue service, a specified amenity under the Act.

By failing to provide this adequate, sustainable and secure funding to our essential service, you have told the people of Auckland that the helicopter rescue service does not contribute to the well-being of the region, nor is it viewed as an essential safety net for a vibrant and attractive Auckland.

Aucklanders themselves disagree.

A December 2012 study by Phoenix Research revealed that 86 per cent of Aucklanders believe the helicopter rescue service is beneficial to Aucklanders – far surpassing any of the other specified amenities under the Act such as the orchestra or opera.

You have ignored the people of Auckland.

This table shows the levels of support for each amenity by the people of Auckland. We are the highest, with 86% public support.

In slashing our funding on the grounds that we have “demonstrated the ability to access alternative funding to support its activities”, you have slashed our funding because we are supported by Aucklanders and because our funding-raising team works so hard.

The fact Aucklanders back us and the fact our fundraising team works hard should be reasons for you to increase our funding, not cut it.

Yes, we have an arrangement with Westpac Bank. And while we are very grateful to Westpac for their generosity, as are the people of Auckland, we cannot subsist on that amount alone.

That is why we aggressively fundraise from the public. We do not expect you to use that as an excuse to continually cut the public funding we receive.

Our ability to fundraise has its limits.

Initially, Parliament introduced this legislation to prevent ad hoc, unpredictable and unsustainable funding. Parliament clearly demonstrated what they thought secure funding was.

That amount was $1,500,000 in 2009. Since that date, we have doubled the service.

Instead, you have ignored not just the people of Auckland but Parliament each time you have slashed our funding.

You have also ignored the hundreds of lives saved, and the families that can now breathe easy because their loved ones are safe.

Looking ahead, our two helicopters - built in 1988 and 1991 – are becoming more expensive to maintain, operate and keep safe. We have refurbished them over the years, but given their age, we need to replace them in order to continue to provide a safe, outstanding and essential rescue service for the people of Auckland.

In carrying out your functions, you must comply with the law. You cannot make arbitrary decisions outside the law, especially not those influenced by improper considerations.

We do not provide free helicopter joy rides for members of this Funding Board because ours is an essential service.

We wonder if that has been our mistake.

We wonder if free tickets to gala openings of the orchestra or the opera have been in play here.

How is anyone to know? After all, you have refused to release your secret register of pecuniary interests. You refuse to tell us, the media, the Mayor, or the people of Auckland just who it is that has been giving you gifts and why.

You are aware we are already involved in litigation for 2013/14. The reality is that more litigation will follow until the Board acts properly and provides us with the level of funding Parliament calculated our essential service provides.

We urge you to avoid that litigation by conducting your decision making within the law, and restoring our funding to at least $1,350,000.

END

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Team Behind Trump's Throne

Forget the Putin factor. Daily, the team of charlatans, bigots and stunningly ignorant crackpots that Trump is appointing to head key federal agencies is just as alarming. These are positions with vast power and budgetary discretion over policies that stand to affect tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Sad! More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news