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 IOC’s Treatment Of Russian Sport, And Lone Wolf Terrorism

A blanket ban on Russian athletes would also have exposed the IOC to criticism that its treatment of Russia would have been marked contrast to its treatment say, of the track and field team from Kenya – a country about which the IOC has very similar doping concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Sounds Like A Plan: Auckland Council Receives Unitary Plan Recommendations

A key milestone in New Zealand planning history was reached today when the Independent Hearings Panel delivered the reports containing its recommendations on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. More>>

ALSO:

National Park Expansion: Forests And Coast Of Kahurangi Protected

Five parcels of high value land totalling more than 890 hectares have been formally gazetted as part of the National Park. More>>

ALSO:

PPP Go-Ahead: SkyPath Gets Unanimous Support

Auckland’s SkyPath project has been given the go-ahead to be delivered through a public private partnership, after a unanimous decision at today’s Finance and Performance Committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Reserve Bank, The UN Shortlist, And Trump

Can there really be there any link between the US presidential elections and yesterday’s RBNZ signals on interest rates and the NZ dollar? Well, maybe. And it would be this: the improving US economy is reportedly putting a tailwind behind the US dollar, and rendering the actions of our Reserve Bank virtually irrelevant. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What John Key Should Be Asking Joe Biden

No doubt, US Vice-President Joe Biden will be updating Prime Minister John Key on the chances of a TPP vote taking place in the ‘ lame duck’ session of Congress that’s held between the November’s election and the inauguration of a new President in January. More>>

ALSO:

Make NZ Make Again: Greens Will Establish A Minister For Manufacturing

The Green Party announced today that it will establish a Minister for Manufacturing in Cabinet, to better represent the interests of manufacturers and ensure they thrive. The Minister will be inside Cabinet and have responsibility for the long-term interests of the manufacturing sector. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news