23 Apr 2018

Rescue heli cuts: Central North Island back in tendering process

7:10 pm on 23 April 2018

Central North Island mayors say they are thrilled that their bid to keep rescue helicopters based in the region will now be considered.

Rescuers helped the woman to a rescue helicopter at first light

Rescuers helped the woman to a rescue helicopter at first light Photo: Supplied / Greenlea Rescue Helicopter

Under a proposed re-design of the national air ambulance service, the Central North Island would be left without helicopter bases, meaning it would have to rely on choppers coming from Taranaki, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier or Palmerston North.

The mayors of Taupō, Rotorua and the Ruapehu District travelled to Wellington today to meet with Health Minister David Clark and his officials.

The mayor of Rotorua, Steve Chadwick, said they were thrilled with the outcome of the meeting.

"It was a difficult and challenging meeting, but we brought a wonderful team with us and we were listened to, we challenged some of the assumptions that were put on the table but we are back in the tendering round now for our wider district... so we are really pleased about that."

Ms Chadwick stressed that today's outcome was just the next stage in the process.

"We've been scrambling for two weeks to find the documents, to find all the ministry papers, to look for the gaps to do our own analysis with the District Health Board, and the Helicopter Trust and with our own clinician and DHB Chair.

"So, it's a pretty formidable group that came before the minister and the ministry today, but it was free and frank, and a wonderful open end to the process today."

Taupō Mayor David Trewavas (L), Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick and Ruapehu Mayor, Don Cameron.

The three mayors: David Trewavas, Steve Chadwick and Don Cameron. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

Taupō Mayor, David Trewavas, said the tender was due in the middle of May.

"We knew there could be a positive outcome today, so we have done a pro-forma tender within ourselves, so we are pretty well organised as far as Taupō goes.

"We are excited, this is exactly what we wanted to achieve today was to get back in that tendering process, to see that our tender will be as good as anyone elses."