Today's Government announcement that the Taupō District will retain its rescue helicopter service has been heralded a community victory by Mayor David Trewavas.
The announcement will see the central North Island covered by air ambulances in Taupō, Tauranga and Hamilton, with response times estimated to be the same or faster than the current model.
Mr Trewavas says that the rescue chopper is essential given Taupō's central location and he was glad to see that common sense had prevailed.
"The fact that the chopper will be staying is great news, but it is also fantastic to see there will actually be an increased level of service under the new system. This was a real community effort, with so many people in the district getting behind the campaign to save the chopper. I'd like to thank everyone who lent a hand, from Rachel Hunter for her great video appeal, to former Prime Minister Helen Clark for her support. And of course local woman Jan-Marie Quinn for organising a march here in Taupō, and well-known local aviator John Funnell for his advocacy in Wellington. It's a great outcome, and great to know that the Greenlea team will be able to continue to provide their fantastic service."
The revised service will come into operation on November 1, 2018, and in making the announcement Health Minister Dr David Clark said this was the first part of a ten year programme that would increase crew numbers and reduce call out times.
Within the central region concerns had been expressed about proposals to replace bases in Rotorua and Taupō and instead provide coverage with helicopters from neighbouring centres.
Dr Clark says that feedback has been listened to, and a base will continue to operate from Taupō.
"Taupō's high volume of search and rescue operations means it makes good sense to have a shared emergency response approach at this base."
October 5 2018
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