Otago Daily Times

Coast­guard merger good for South, pres­i­dent says

- DAISY HUD­SON Business · John F. Campbell · South Island

A MOVE to cen­tralise coast­guard op­er­a­tions could bring big ben­e­fits to South­ern crews, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Dunedin pres­i­dent says.

The ini­tial stages of Project Hori­zon, an ini­tia­tive to in­te­grate the four re­gional en­ti­ties into into one na­tional body, are ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of the year.

It means re­gional boards have been re­placed by one na­tional board, re­spon­si­ble for things like fundrais­ing and re­cruit­ment.

Coast­guard Dunedin pres­i­dent John Camp­bell said fund­ing had in­creased a lot since the new or­gan­i­sa­tion was an­nounced.

Re­sourc­ing would be di­vided up around the coun­try, giv­ing a boost to the South, he said.

‘‘For us down here it’s very pos­i­tive,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s no dou­bling up with boards ev­ery­where.’’

There was a rule that the na­tional board had to have at least one rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the South Is­land, he said. The in­com­ing board had two.

Coast­guard vol­un­teers and mem­bers voted in favour of the merger at a spe­cial gen­eral meet­ing in March.

At the time, coast­guard chief ex­ec­u­tive Cal­lum Gille­spie said the need for change was clear.

“Bring­ing the na­tional body and the four re­gional en­ti­ties to­gether will en­able coast­guard to be more ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive in the de­vel­op­ment and de­liv­ery of strate­gies to meet chal­lenges we face today and in the fu­ture.”

The most press­ing of those chal­lenges was to ad­dress de­creas­ing vol­un­teer num­bers.

The Dunedin group has al­ready had 10 new vol­un­teers since it moved op­er­a­tions from Por­to­bello to the Har­bour Basin ear­lier this year.

“Last year, we un­der­took a com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey of our vol­un­teers, and it is ev­i­dent that we need to take ac­tion if we are go­ing to re­tain our in­cred­i­ble vol­un­teers and at­tract new peo­ple to join coast­guard,’’ Mr Gille­spie said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand