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Hauraki-Coromandel Post - 2021-07-22

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Push for a rescue helicopter goes on

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Scott Simpson Coromandel MP

Afew months ago the 50,000 signature-strong petition for the return of our rescue helicopter to its base in Whitianga for summer and long weekends was presented to the health select committee. They have reported back and it’s not good news. The Ministry of Health has denied our submission, because they think we’re adequately serviced by Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. They simply don’t understand the complexities of our region in terms of infrastructure and geography, especially over summer. During holiday periods we experience a huge influx of visitors in the Coromandel. It seems obvious that we need to provide the health services to keep them all safe. Unfortunately, the Ministry’s decision places a higher priority on the safety of those in the cities than those in the Coromandel. It simply isn’t good enough and I will continue fighting for the return of our rescue helicopter. The next step is a further petition and doing all we can do to highlight the issue as we head toward summer. Another issue that needs addressing is the appalling state of the Hikuai Bridge. NZTA were meant to undertake repairs a few weeks ago, but they have left the bridge in a terrible condition. NZTA needs to get its act together and fix the job. It’s really disappointing that it’s taking so long. It’s no wonder people are sick and tired of having to put up with poor quality roads across the Coromandel. On a more positive note, the Coromandel Volunteer Fire Brigade had a terrific awards evening, with Greg Christensen and Kelvin Wirihana Tawake receiving Gold Stars, and John Walker receiving a double Gold Star. These milestones are a reminder of the extensive and selfless service that many volunteer firefighters give to our communities. A Gold Star is awarded after 25 years of service, with a double Gold Star recognising 50 years of service. Those records are extraordinary. Well done John, Greg and Kevin. Thank you for keeping our communities safe.

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