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Westpac NZ Launches Water Safety Initiative To Tackle Rising Drowning Numbers

Westpac NZ is supporting Water Safety New Zealand with its popular Westpac Rescue Rashies to help to keep our youngest whānau members safe around water as Kiwis prepare to hit their favourite summer hot spots.

Sadly, preventable drownings hit a ten-year high of 94 in 2022. A survey of Westpac customers shows the majority (63%) are planning to spend time around beaches, lakes and rivers this summer, yet only around half of those are confident of being able to perform CPR.

To raise awareness, Westpac is donating one Rescue Rashie, which zip open to reveal CPR instructions, to Water Safety New Zealand for each customer who opens a new 8-month term deposit with the bank. The rate is currently 6.10%.

Westpac NZ General Manager of Product, Sustainability and Marketing Sarah Hearn says the bank is stepping up to make more people aware and help keep Kiwi kids safe, with a total of 1,000 Rashies to donate this summer.

“The Rashies are brightly coloured, making kids easier to keep an eye on and unzip to reveal CPR instructions, providing potentially life-saving information in an emergency,” Ms Hearn says.

“We all have a part to play in keeping our tamariki safe around water, and participating in our term deposit offer, or purchasing a Westpac Rescue Rashie, gives people the chance to directly support a cause that’s important to so many of us.

“Drowning events are devastating for families and communities. 94 people drowned last year – a ten year high – including 8 under the age of 10.

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“Each time a child puts on a Westpac Rescue Rashie, not only are they highly visible and safe from the sun, they’re providing valuable lifesaving information for their caregivers.

“Kids and their parents also tell us they look cool as well.”

The rash vests are also on public sale from today, with the full $25 price going to a local rescue helicopter service of the customer’s choice. Westpac NZ has donated or sold more than 10,000 Rescue Rashies since 2019. The rash vests are designed to fit children aged 2 to 8.

Water Safety New Zealand CEO Daniel Gerrard says the donated Rashies will go to children taking part in its Water Skills for Life programme, which gives young people the knowledge they need to build life-long skills.

“Empowering our youth with water safety skills is fundamental to creating a safer future. Westpac's generous partnership not only equips our children with vital knowledge but directly supports our 'Water Skills for Life' programme. Together, we're fostering a culture where every kiwi kid not only enjoys the water but respects and understands its dangers. These Rescue Rashies are more than just a garment; they're a beacon of safety and education."

Westpac Rescue Rashies are on sale now. Purchasers can choose to buy an additional Rashie at checkout to be donated to the Water Skills for Life programme.

© Scoop Media

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