April 10, 2018
Iwi fighting chopper chop
Break a leg on a ski holiday and you're on your own.
That seems to be the message the National Ambulance Sector Office has issued on a request for air ambulance services proposals which does not include Rotorua or Taupo.
Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board spokesperson Topia Rameka says as one of the largest landowners in the region the tribe is fighting the plan.
The Taupo-based Greenlea Rescue Helicopter is one of the busiest services in the North Island, performed 256 missions over the past 12 months.
Mr Rameka says its high elevation and natural features, the area is enjoying a visitor boom.
"We're essentially North Island's playground. With the amount of activity that goes on in this area we think it's a real shame and it's a kaupapa that hasn't been well thought through. They need to go back to the drawing board and reassess this kaupapa and at the very least undertake some community consultation with us," he says.
It would take an extra hour or more for a rescue helicopter to come from Hamilton or Palmerston North, especially to the Tongariro Crossing where there is high demand for rescue services.
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