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.

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