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Meeting with Minister on Regional Helicopter Rescue Service

Meeting with Minister on Regional Helicopter Rescue Service goes well

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron said that he was happy with the way the meeting with the Minister for Health Hon Dr David Clark went today (Mon 23 April) on the future of a Central North Island based helicopter rescue service.

Mayor Cameron along with Taupo mayor David Trewavas and Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick supported by Rotorua District Health Board representatives met with Minister Clark to voice their concerns over the potential loss of the current Taupo based regional helicopter rescue service in a new tender round.

“We had a very constructive meeting with the Minister who listened closely to our concerns,” said Mayor Cameron.

“The Minister has assured us that the existing Taupo based rescue helicopter service provider was able to be included on an equal footing in the Expression of Interest (EOI) process and that our key concerns would be taken into account in the decision making process.

Taupo and Rotorua will now be working on developing and submitting an EOI for the Tender process for future New Zealand helicopter rescue services,” he said.

Mayor Cameron said that is was admitted that the communications from the Ministry around the ability of the Taupo based service to take part in the Tender process could have been better managed.

“We are all just thrilled however that the issues we raised received a fair hearing.

While we all support the improved patient care objectives of the Tender process we stand firmly by our argument that the central North Island area with its unique terrain, and often extreme weather patterns, needs local pilots and crews with intimate local knowledge who are able to respond quickly to any event.

Adding an extra 20 to 30 minutes of flight time to a mountain rescue situation where hypothermia is often a factor can be the difference between life and death.

The flying conditions also lends itself toward smaller, more nimble helicopters that can handle Central Plateau conditions,” he said.

Clive Manley

Chief Executive

Ruapehu District Council

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