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Helicopter Trust Begins Litigation Process

AUCKLAND RESCUE HELICOPTER TRUST

WEDNESDAY 12 MARCH 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Helicopter Trust Begins Litigation Process Against Funding Board

Lawyers for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust have today formally written to the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board advising them of the Trust’s intention to seek a judicial review of the Board’s decision to slash public funding for its essential helicopter rescue service by another 50%.

The Funding Board decided yesterday that public funding for the rescue service should be cut to $450,000 for 2014/15, from $900,000 in 2013/14 and the $1.5 million mandated by Parliament for 2009/10.

The $450,000 the Funding Board will save by slashing funding for the helicopter service will be reallocated as funding increases to the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra ($125,000 extra to $2,942,000), the Auckland Arts Festival Trust ($75,000 extra to $2,305,000), the New Zealand Maritime Museum ($100,000 extra to $1,975,000) and the Stardome Observatory ($150,000 extra to $1,269,000). The Auckland Theatre Company will also get $85,000 extra, to take its funding to $1,415,000.

The Helicopter Trust believes the Funding Board’s decision to cut its funding in order to increase funding to the arts is unlawful under the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008, unfair, and unreasonable.

The Chairman of the Funding Board, Vern Walsh, today revealed that the board does not weigh its decisions against written or other publicly available criteria and nor does it record what gifts and inducements its members receive – although Mr Walsh, the orchestra and theatre company have all confirmed board members receive free tickets to performances.

The Chairman of the Helicopter Trust, Murray Bolton, said: “We have made clear we will no longer tolerate this Funding Board’s biased decisions and we will sue them every year until our funding is restored to a level at least proximate to that mandated by Parliament in 2008.”

END

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