8 May 2014

Chopper trust head denies threats

9:22 pm on 8 May 2014

The head of Auckland's rescue helicopter trust is rejecting a city councillor's claims of threatening behaviour in its bid to get $900,000 grant.

The Auckland Council has agreed to contribute $900,000 towards the purchase of a new helicopter next year, and $20,000 towards running costs after the trust agreed to drop further legal action over its funding.

But several councillors described as "threatening" the trust's offer to stop the action if the grant was provided.

Councillor Cathy Casey said nearly $1 million of ratepayer and community money had been spent in recent legal action between the council funding board and the trust.

Councillor Linda Cooper said some of the tactics had been deplorable.

"Some of the behaviours ... For me personally, I've had a very threatening phone call this morning from a trust member, and that's really disturbing to me."

But Auckland's Rescue Helicopter Trust chief executive Greg Barrow said he did not know what Ms Cooper was talking about when she alleged bullying tactics by the trust.

"I have no idea what she's talking about. Threatening behaviour is not where we want to be.

"We are essentially a rescue helicopter service. We don't threaten people."

Greg Barrow agreed having to spend money on legal action was a waste but said the trust had felt it had no choice.