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Red takes on blue as Labour leader joins Coastguard on water

Red takes on blue as Labour leader joins Coastguard on the water

Labour leader Phil Goff took leave from Parliament yesterday as he joined Coastguard out on the water, getting a taste of what it takes to successfully save lives at sea.

Joining Coastguard New Zealand’s President, Colin Small, and the crew of Coastguard Howick aboard Howick Rescue One on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, Mr Goff was shown first hand how the charity provides assistance to New Zealanders.

Taken on a tour of the Regional Communications Centre at Mechanics Bay before venturing onto the water, Mr Goff said his time with Coastguard provided an invaluable hands-on learning experience.

“Spending the day out on the water is a much-loved past-time for Kiwis, be it boating, fishing, kayaking or enjoying a surf, and it’s important that we have the services of an organisation like Coastguard available to make sure we stay safe in the water.

“Coastguard plays a vital role in making our waterways a safe place that all boaties can all enjoy. Seeing the hard work and dedication of the many highly-trained volunteers who give up their time to help those who get in trouble on the water has been extremely humbling.”

Mr Small says with Coastguard’s recent annual statistics released last week showing an increase in the number of rescue missions and volunteer hours, the support of local and national Government has never been more important.

“Over 2,244 men and women risk their lives on a daily basis for Coastguard in an effort to fulfil the community promise of keeping boaties safe at sea. The backing of the New Zealand Government is critical to the organisation from a budgeting point of view but more importantly to our volunteers as it is a formal recognition from our nation’s leaders of the fantastic service we provide to New Zealanders. This is just one of the reasons why exercises like yesterday’s are so important.”

“It was great to have the opportunity to show Mr Goff what is involved in being a Coastguard volunteer and we believe the time spent with him was a worthwhile experience for everyone involved.”

Coastguard volunteers from 71 rescue units located around the nation’s coast and inland waterways, devoted a staggering 348,346 hours to keeping Kiwis safe on the water over the past year, making around 3,337 rescue missions.

ENDS

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