NRC to loan $9.6m for rescue chopper
The Northland Regional Council has confirmed it will loan $9.6 million to help the Northland Emergency Services Trust fund two rescue helicopters for the region.
At their August 22 meeting, councillors voted in favour of providing the loan, under which NEST could access low interest cash the council can borrow via the Local Government Funding Agency.
Council deputy chairman David Sinclair says the decision could save NEST – and indirectly the community – more than $600,000 in interest payments over the life of the loan and comes after ‘overwhelming’ public support for the move.
With two of the trust’s existing choppers almost 40 years old, it’s keen to replace them with two Sikorsky S-76 C++ models, buying one outright and leasing the other with the option to purchase.
Sinclair says under the loan arrangement, the council will initially provide the trust with $4.5m in the current financial year, allowing it to buy the first chopper.
NEST will also supply $1.6m from its Helicopter Replacement Fund as well as a contribution from the sale of its existing chopper.
The agreement also provides for NEST to borrow another $5.1m for a second chopper in the 2019/20 financial year.