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

Urgent Bill Planned:
MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent...

The new legislation will be backdated to 1 July 2014, meaning the pay increase outlined in the latest determination will not be awarded. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news