Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Local choppers can be the difference between life and death

Local choppers can be the difference between life and death

Saving lives is more important than saving dollars, and that should be reflected in decisions about the nation’s rescue helicopter services, Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says.

Existing Te Anau, Taupo/Rotorua and Coromandel rescue chopper services are missing from a list of bases proposed under new, larger area contracts put out by the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO).

Rescue helicopters are generally funded 50 per cent by government and 50 per cent by the community through sponsorship and donations. NASO says the current model is financially unsustainable long-term, and wants all rescue choppers to be twin-engined.

"Last weekend we saw around 500 people join a protest rally over the threat to the Bay Trust Rescue Helicopter in Rotorua. Locals were rightly concerned about the big coverage hole that would be left in the central North Island if rescue choppers only fly out of Hamilton and Tauranga," Katie said.

"Feeling is also running high in Te Anau, Fiordland and Haast over the idea that a future service run out of Queenstown only will be sufficient.

"That adds 20-25 minutes of flight time, when we know every minute counts in the so-called ‘golden hour’ after a serious accident or emergency. And that’s assuming the weather is playing ball and a helicopter from Queenstown can get up and over the mountains."

The current service out of Te Anau includes pilot Sir Richard Hayes, who has 40 years’ flying experience.

"Local knowledge of terrain and conditions can be absolutely vital when the search is on for an injured farmer, road smash victim or hypothermic tramper," Katie says. "Local pilots are in a much better position to interpret garbled location details like ‘up the forked road past the old pub by that forestry that’s just been milled….’."

Katie, who is a volunteer with her local fire brigade, says she has been involved in a couple of helicopter rescues where, "without a handy local machine, with a pilot that knows the area, the outcome would have been very different.

"I understand why twin-engined choppers might be desirable. But the fact is, when you’re bleeding out in a ravine somewhere, you’ll bless your fortune to see any helicopter. It’s about the speed of the service, whether the pilot can find you, and whether he or she can manoeuvre the chopper into where you are."

In cold, hard terms and for the purpose of investing in road safety measures in New Zealand, the value of a human life was put at $3.85 million in 2013 - though others said that was an under-estimate.

"Investment saves lives and dollars, never mind preventing the grief that comes with a fatality. We owe it to those who live and work, or visit as tourists and recreationalists, the more remote parts of our country to have local rescue chopper services that are fast and efficient," Katie says.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

a well

Wellness: Gordon Campbell On Ardern, Davos, And Wellbeing

The word “well-being” has a nice warm ring to it. So much so that the ‘wellbeing budget’ being touted by PM Jacinda Ardern at the rich folks’ club in Davos, Switzerland sounds more like a marketing slogan than an actual policy initiative.

Still, it is just as easy to forget that GDP – the common measure of how well an economy is performing – is also a marketing device. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Shipping Is NZ’s New Trade Problem

So Jacinda Ardern and Theresa May have signed a piece of paper promising peace in our time when it comes to our trade with Britain... Brexit is not the only concern. More>>

ALSO:

Reshuffle: National Announces Spokesperson For Drug Reform

National Leader Simon Bridges has appointed Paula Bennett to the new position of Spokesperson for Drug Reform as the Government pushes ahead with its agenda of drug decriminalisation, to signal National’s commitment to holding them to account. More>>

ALSO:

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday]. More>>

ALSO:

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels