Sign petition to keep Coromandel rescue helicopter base in Whitianga 26 April 2018 With talk of major changes to rescue helicopter services on the Coromandel, our Mayor Sandra Goudie is encouraging people to sign a petition to help keep this life-saving service in our community. The National Ambulance Services Office, operated by the Ministry of Health and the Accident Compensation Corporation, has put out the tender for air ambulance operation services, outlining changes that could see the current rescue helicopter base in Whitianga disestablished. The area would instead be serviced by Hamilton or Auckland under a new air ambulance model, with the risk of much longer response times for Coromandel. Mayor Sandra encourages residents of the Coromandel to sign a petition, calling on the Minister for ACC and Minister of Health to commit to maintaining the rescue helicopter base in Whitianga alongside Taupo, Rotorua and Te Anau. You can find the petition here. "Closure of our rescue helicopter base in Whitianga is a huge step backwards," Mayor Sandra says. "The helicopter service provides a vital and proven life-saving service for our Coromandel communities and is called on to jobs such as medical emergencies and rescue operations - often in rugged weather and terrain. "We need to keep our local base to ensure we reach people within the 'golden hour' to improve chances of survival," Mayor Sandra says. "I can't see any reason why our Whitianga rescue helicopter base has to close. "It's a real shame that whomever convinced Cabinet to approve the business case the RFP is based on didn't think things through with regard to the Coromandel Peninsula. I hope some sense will prevail before any final decisions are made." Mayor Sandra, along with the Mayors of Taupo and Rotorua, is lobbying Government to take a close look at the international tender process for the air ambulance service. "I don't support that. I don't want to see our guys here in New Zealand miss out and be left and dry. And it's the knowledge of our local operators that makes our current service so effective." Mayor Sandra invites residents to join her at a public meeting to discuss the changes at 3:30pm on Saturday, May 5 in the Whitianga Hangar Base at 90 Moewau Rd. The meeting is being organised by the Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust. "This is an opportunity for the Whitianga community to come out and put a stake in the ground and I will be there at the meeting to lend support." More information on the Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust can be found at its website.