Loss of Coromandel rescue helicopter a cruel blow

For the first time in many years there will be no emergency rescue helicopter stationed in Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula this summer, Coromandel’s MP Scott Simpson says.

“This is a huge slap in the face for locals and the hundreds of thousands of visitors here over the summer peak.

“We’ve been completely let down by the Labour Government who promised there would be no reduction to rescue helicopter services for the Coromandel Peninsula, but here we are this summer without a much needed machine and crew based in Whitianga.

“Local people are feeling angry and vulnerable at what is their busiest time of year.

“Health Minister David Clark gave assurances last year services would not be reduced, but now the Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust’s community funded and purpose built hanger in Whitianga is empty.

“Lives are at risk. Instead of having a fully trained flight crew with paramedics and a rescue helicopter here over the summer peak, we’re being told machines from as far away as Tauranga, Hamilton or Auckland may be deployed if there is a need.

“That’s very cold comfort to car accident victims, heart attack patients or others on the Coromandel Peninsula who may need urgent and quick access to a rescue helicopter.

“The people of Coromandel have always given generously in fundraising efforts to support a locally based service over the summer. To have it ripped away by a heartless, uncaring Government is insulting and potentially life threatening.

“David Clark needs to take a break from his holiday and issue an instruction to have a helicopter re-located back to Whitianga this week.”