Civil Defence in Southland says lives could be at risk as a result of an oil company's decision to stop providing helicopter fuel supplies at Milford Sound.
It argues the pull out could cause delays in search and rescue operations and prevent Milford being used as a staging area during major emergencies.
Milford had a 50,000 litre jet fuel storage facility until Mobil pulled out in June. The tanks are still there, but are now empty.
Civil Defence says this could put lives at risk because helicopters now have to fly to Te Anau or Queenstown to refuel.
It says attempts to get Mobil to resume supply or sell the tanks to another operator have been unsuccessful.
Mobil has not returned calls to Radio New Zealand.