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MP says loss of rural helicopter is unacceptable

MP says loss of rural helicopter is unacceptable

Rangitikei MP, Simon Power, deplores the potential loss of the rural rescue helicopter from the Manawatu – Rangitikei region.

In December, ACC recommended changes to the operation of rescue helicopter services in rural areas. The changes could see the Rangitikei serviced out of Wellington and Hastings, instead of Palmerston North.

Mr Power says the loss of the rescue service could put lives at risk by increasing the isolation of people in rural areas to vital health services.

“People in rural areas, particularly farmers, pay huge ACC levies which should ensure good access to rescue services.

“Fewer rescue helicopters will mean fewer rescues on time, and there will also be problems getting a helicopter into the region from Hastings because of the Ruahine ranges.

“Rural people are entitled to the same access to essential health services as any other New Zealander.”

Mr Power has joined Nathan Guy, National Party candidate for Otaki, who launched a petition calling for the retention of the local rescue helicopter service – Square Trust Rescue Helicopter, which is based in Palmerston North.

Submissions for public comment close on 25 February 2005. By signing the petition, members of the public have the opportunity to participate in the process.

Mr Power will be seeking support for the petition at the following events in January:

o Otairi Sports Day

o Settlers Day, Feilding

o Ohingaiti Sports Day

o Turakina Games

o Taihape A&P Show

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