The secret sale of the Rotorua Rescue Helicopter is a disgrace and the Philips Rescue Trust and the Government must urgently confirm their commitment to a Rescue helicopter and base in Rotorua, Rotorua MP Todd McClay says.
“The future of the Rotorua Rescue Helicopter and base was cast into doubt earlier this year and local people deserved to be kept informed of what’s happening.
“A Government call for tender for rescue services which excluded Rotorua prompted around 500 people to attend a public meeting at the Rescue Helicopter base to express support for the retention of the a rescue helicopter and base in Rotorua.
“The closure of the Rotorua base was proposed by the Government in its tender document. Despite hollow assurances from the Labour-led Government, Rotorua is still not mentioned in the tender document and I am extremely worried that our base is set to close.
“The news is not good for Rotorua. The Tauranga Rescue chopper has recently been upgraded and there is industry talk that the Taupo chopper is also soon to be upgraded. The Rotorua helicopter has been sold.
“The Rotorua Rescue helicopter is one of the busiest recue choppers in the country. It has saved many lives and has very strong support from the Rotorua community. The helicopter and rescue equipment was purchased from the hard work and generosity of local people and local charitable trusts. For our helicopter to be secretly sold with the money being spirited out of town in the dead of night is disgraceful.
“I understand the old Tauranga chopper is also for sale. Rotorua doesn’t want Tauranga’s castoffs, that the Trust could not sell it is its problem and not Rotorua’s.
“Local people will be very angry to learn that their chopper has been sold. If the Rotorua base is closed lives will be lost.”