Service must be rescued
Removing Taupo’s rescue helicopter service is not an option, and the Government must make things right, Tu¯ wharetoa Ma¯ ori Trust Board says.
The Trust Board is calling for action after learning that a request for proposal from the National Ambulance Sector Office does not include a rescue helicopter base in Taupo¯ .
The proposal removes Greenlea Rescue Helicopter’s Taupo¯ airport base – substituting it for bases in Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, and New Plymouth that will service the Central North Island region. Taupo¯ ’s base would be gone by November.
Trust board chief executive Topia Rameka said removing the Taupo¯ base would ‘‘severely compromise’’ an emergency response.
‘‘This in turn could have a major impact on our health and safety performance, and negative implications on the reputation of our tourism industry,’’ he said.
‘‘Taupo¯ is experiencing a tourism boom; there are thousands of people crossing Tongariro every week, and we have increasing levels of recreational activity taking place on our lake and in our forests.
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A woman is helped into the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter after injuring herself near the summit of Mt Tongariro.