Chop­per stays in Taupo¯

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News - Alice Guy

Taupō lead­ers and res­i­dents are “over the moon” the town will re­tain its res­cue chop­per ser­vice.

“Taupō’s high vol­ume of search and res­cue op­er­a­tions means it makes good sense to have a shared emer­gency re­sponse ap­proach at this base,” Health Min­is­ter David Clark said when mak­ing the an­nounce­ment last Fri­day.

In April more than 1000 peo­ple marched through the streets of Taupō to protest the po­ten­tial re­moval of the Green­lea res­cue he­li­copter.

“Ba­si­cally, ex­treme com­mon sense has pre­vailed and this is fan­tas­tic news for us,” Taupō mayor David Tre­wavas said.

“With the num­ber of call-outs and the na­ture of the ar­eas our ser­vice cov­ered, this de­ci­sion makes sense.”

He thanked model Rachel Hunter, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter He­len Clark, march or­gan­iser Jan- Marie Quinn, and John Fun­nell, who be­gan Taupo¯’s res­cue he­li­copter ser­vice in 1985, for the work they had done.

“But most of all, it’s the com­mu­nity I would like to thank. They ral­lied around and showed the govern­ment how they felt. The govern­ment only took no­tice be­cause of the pub­lic out­cry.”

Mr Fun­nell said he was ab­so­lutely de­lighted by the out­come and what it meant for Taupo¯.

“Ob­vi­ously the Govern­ment has lis­tened to the peo­ple of the cen­tral North Is­land.”

It was a shame Ro­torua would lose its res­cue he­li­copter un­der the new ar­range­ments.

“I do feel for the peo­ple of Ro­torua. They put a lot of money and en­ergy into their he­li­copter.”

Jan-Marie Quinn said she was “pretty ec­static”.

“I got very emo­tional when I got the phone call telling me. It’s been a re­ally big con­cern for me now for a long time. The news has re­ally pleased me, to know the peo­ple that visit are go­ing to be safe and the lo­cals are go­ing to be safe, to have no more fear of what hap­pens if we do run into trou­ble.”

Taupo¯ MP Louise Up­ston said she was in­cred­i­bly grate­ful the Health Min­is­ter lis­tened to Taupo¯ lo­cals.

“I can un­der­stand the dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion of the peo­ple of Ro­torua who have lost their lo­cal base. It would al­ways be prefer­able for each area to have their own ser­vices so emer­gen­cies are bet­ter re­sourced and at­tended more quickly.”

The re­vised ser­vice will be­gin on Novem­ber 1, and Health Min­is­ter David Clark said this was the first part of a 10-year pro­gramme that would in­crease crew num­bers and re­duce call out times.

Within the cen­tral North Is­land re­gion con­cerns had been ex­pressed about pro­pos­als to re­place bases in Ro­torua and Taupo¯ and in­stead pro­vide cov­er­age with he­li­copters from neigh­bour­ing cen­tres.

Photo / Lau­rilee McMichael

A protest against the ax­ing of Taupo¯’s Green­lea res­cue he­li­copter in April at­tracted around 1000 peo­ple.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.