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ACC Ignored Advice On Rescue Helicopters

Simon Power
National MP for Rangitikei

20 April 2005

ACC ignored advice on rescue helicopters

ACC's plan to axe rescue helicopters from the central North Island had been opposed by the Ministry of Health for 12 months before it was released, according to documents released under the Official Information Act by National's Rangitikei MP Simon Power.

"The information from the Ministry of Health shows an extraordinary attitude by ACC to the whole matter," says Mr Power.

"The Ministry of Health was telling ACC 12 months out from the draft National Air Ambulance Strategy being released that this was a really dumb idea but they didn't want to listen.

"During that time, the Ministry of Health was saying the objectives of the strategy were unclear, that there would be adverse public reaction, and that there was no political support for the move.

"Then, the very day before the strategy was announced, the Ministry told ACC the strategy was fundamentally flawed because it concentrated on well-serviced urban areas and did not provide funding solutions for remote rural areas, and that there was no costing analysis done.

"It also pointed out there was no analysis that showed it was feasible to service Nelson, Marlborough, the top half of the West Coast, Wellington, and the bottom half of the North Island all via a single helicopter based in Wellington.

"What was ACC thinking by pursuing this after all that advice? It seems as though ACC Minister Ruth Dyson had some other agenda, but only she would know what that was. Perhaps she might like to enlighten us.

"Luckily, National MPs and candidates like Nathan Guy in Horowhenua and Anne Tolley in East Coast banded together and forced her to do a U-turn."

Ends

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