The inaugural citizen journalist reports

by Motorizer

Credit: Motorizer

Credit: Motorizer

Here is the emergency response helicopter for the Nelson/Marlborough area.

Summit or Westpac I’m not sure.  [ Summit has bailed.  They are now looking for a principal sponsor – Ed ]

But its off to the Marlborough Sounds to pick its third casualty of the day.  

What would have meant possibly a two or three hour boat ride in possibly rough conditions and then another 40 minute drive to the hospital is now achieved in half an hour.

Even shorter.

What’s more, the paramedics can opt to go to Wellington or even Auckland if the situation warrants.

While the Labour and Green parties and all the sniveling libertarians out there tell us that times have never been tougher, the proof remains that we have never had it so good in this country.


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  • Concerned Of Remuera

    Well done Sir.
    What staggers me – as one in the industry – is why these essential services (ambulances and rescue helicopters) are not being funded by the government. They are run by charities. To me that is outrageous. In Australia, for example, these services are funded through and administered by the health department.

    • WABloke

      I think you’ll find Westpac are still fairly generous in Oz.

      • Blokeintakapuna

        …and they’re very generous here too with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter…

        • WABloke

          I would be too if I had their kind of cash stashed under the mattress.

      • Concerned Of Remuera

        Of course. But most (if not all) states have state funded/administered helicopter services (administration varies from state to state).
        My point is why are we relying wholly on charities to provide this essential service?

        • Lofty

          The issue of funding air rescue services, both rotary and fixed wing is certainly one that could be Govt funded, and I suppose to a degree is, by way of the ACC payments that they attract.
          The issue of general ambo service is a bit different I suggest.

          • Concerned Of Remuera

            In what way?
            (Im not being argumentative, Im genuinely interested in discussion and points of view).

          • Lofty

            CoR I don’t see your comments as argumentative mate (or is that mate-ess), it is interesting to discuss this sort of fundamental issue.

            As I tried to point out above, and also agreeing with Gravedodger a bit, the problem with Govt governance, and it dictating both the availability of funds and the operational requirements is fraught with danger.
            The need to supply service to the public in this most basic requirement of early attention to injury etc should not be the domain of Governmental directive.

            There is nothing quite like a Govt agency to build bloated empires that suck more of the available funds into administration and salaries, rather than on to the front line where monies are best spent and resources utilised.

            The transportation of patients by air is less complicated and also dare I say, less frequent (compared to land transportation by ambulances) so funding and operations are less complicated and the use of ACC (Govt funds) is more easily applied…I think?

            By the way I have no affiliation with St Johns etc just an interested bystander and taxpayer.

            The less Govt involvement in our lives the better!

          • Concerned Of Remuera

            So that makes sense. But shouldn’t government funding of the service extend to more than ACC? ACC would not cover the majority of the jobs because the majority are non accident related.

          • Lofty

            Yes absolutely. The movement of patients between hospitals etc etc could be funded directly by Govt through the Health budget. Edit…probably already is.
            My main fear is the gradual creep from that, to a eureka moment by Wellington busybodies, into one of “Oh I know, the next logical move is to take over the ambulance service” type thing.
            Parasites will always look for new host CoR.

            Conversley, perhaps any funding could be granted to St Johns and Wellington free, for dispersal to flight transportation?

            Less Govt…not more mate.

          • rockape

            my wife an ED nurse has had a patient come in under drink and wanted an ambulance to take them home. If you want this to get really expensive make it free!

        • rockape

          They don’t totally rely on charity although they would like you to think that. They bill ACC as does the ambulance service. Try calling an ambulance for a non accident. If they can’t bill ACC they bill you!

          • Concerned Of Remuera

            Don’t I know it. $85 odd dollars. Now think of children from low income families with chronic illnesses like asthma who are frequent flyers…

          • Steve (North Shore)

            St Johns is only $60 per year for a family. After paying $85 on 3 occassions for my family I finaly decided to join; I only resisted because I did not want the service to be on demand and too easy to use

        • mike

          Two thirds of the funding for Life Flight come from the DHB and ACC… so you can safely say the tax payer foots the majority of the bill.

          I can only assume this is the same for Wellington Free Ambulance and St Johns.

  • Lofty

    COR…I would be surprised if St John would be keen on letting go their charity status, they have built quite the “empire” with all of its associated infrastructure, and in my opinion do a fantastic job overall, given the funding streams.
    The fear may well be that any move to direct Govt funding will inevitably lead to a degradation of service, given the perception (right or wrong) of the performance of Govt funded agencies.

  • Blokeintakapuna

    ohh – and well done to Motorizer too for being the 1st! Great work!

  • Gravedodger

    One massive advantage of the current funding model is accountability.
    To continue to access such funding requires an image that appeals in seeking public support.
    That entails an automatic restraint on empire building that is in some cases a threat already.
    Much of the current funding comes from the ACC colossus and there are enough rorts from that source already.
    Make it a bureaucracy at your peril as then it will attract fraud, politicians and attention seekers to feed off the taxpayer funded carcass. As if there is much to differentiate those three vulture species at present.
    One part of the deployment of Rescue choppers is a lack of inquisatorial activity to assess need over the desire to go gungho, similar too often in dispatch of Fire and Ambulance.
    Cell phones are as often a curse as an assett

    • Concerned Of Remuera


  • cows4me

    Funding is always an issue. We run a rescue boat ( not coast guard, divorced from coast guard ) but could only do so because of our geographical position. With several oil rigs in the vicinity the oil companies are generous with their funding. Without this funding the cost of running such a service would be impossible. The TSB bank is also very community minded and hands out millions every year in grants.

    • ropteron

      I like that TSB. I would support that bank. If my situation was different.

  • john Doe

    I am proud to be able to donate 1k annually to our local Westpac rescue Helicopter.

  • timemagazine

    Speaking of interviews-maybe the whale could have interviews with people posting comments on this blog. It would be about real people, not statistics, hard working, law abiding everyday kiwis, with their dreams, aspirations, frustrations and everything that makes us the way we are. It could be the voice of the silent majority, which never has a voice in the lame stream media. Lame stream media hijacked by political activists, or academics telling us constantly what to eat and how much to eat, how much to sleep, what to say, what not to say, simpler said teaching us how to run our lives and that of our families. And maybe, just maybe, the left could also learn something about us.

  • sheppy

    Labour and the Greens have to whinge as its their only hope. In the current climate they are obsolete, the economy is steadily improving, as is the environment due to greater awareness of actions and consequences. Even the promised global warming hasn’t turned up on time and has snared their latest propaganda hope in ice!
    Now if only the money wasted on and by these losers could be captured and used to improve the lot of the rest of the population.