This image is taken from the NZ Herald story this morning confirming NASO plans to discontinue rescue helicopter services from Taupo and Rotorua. It is credited “This Ministry of Health image illustrates the 95 percent coverage from bases that currently provide services.”
It is misleading, perhaps deliberately so…It implies that this coverage is provided from the bases (red dots) shown on the map but omits the two bases in the central North Island at Taupo and Rotorua. Only the blindest of the blind could not see the bright smudge in the centre of the North Island that represents that Taupo rescue helicopter’s main operating area i.e. Tongariro National Park, Tongariro Forest Park and the Desert Road.
The NASO web page has provides some limited background on its new model for air ambulance services…apparently it will all be wonderful…further information is available on the government tenders page…
…but you have to be a registered supplier to actually access the tender documents…so much for open government…
More and more, this reeks of a bureaucrat-driven efficiency plan under the guise of ‘government’…
Rescue helicopters based in Tauranga, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Hamilton cannot adequately service the Taupo and Ruapehu dependencies as well as their own.
- They are already busy enough
- Their response times, assuming availability, are too long.
- They lack the intimate knowledge of the Ruapehu area that makes the Taupo rescue helicopter so successful.
Any presentation to the contrary is misleading and dishonest. Even if the numbers of helicopters at those more remote base locations are doubled, that does not address the issues of response times and local knowledge.
The Herald reports the following rescue helicopters stats from 2017:
Hamilton – 654
Palmerston North -286
Taupo – 237
Rotorua – 229
Tauranga – 203
Does NASO seriously expect Hamilton, Palmerston North, and Tauranga to absorb another 450+ flights each year…? Seriously…?
Visit the petition page. Read some of the comments. See how many lives have been touched by this vital and proven life-saving service.
When someone dies because there is no rescue helicopter, who carries the can? Not some faceless gnome in NASO, that’s for sure…