Gravy train - Northern Advocate- 11th April 2011

Helicopter funding to the extreme?

Informed by the media on Thursday that Northland has secured its third rescue helicopter, we think how wonderful it is to have the luxury of a spare for a spare. In 2009 ratepayers had a targeted rate of $8-56 forced upon them for this service, as it was understood then that finances were short and they were crying out poor. Have we all been hoodwinked about NESTís (Northland Emergency Services Trust) financial situation?Helicopters donít come cheap and the recent purchase of a third machine, tells us that finances now are not an issue. Recently it was made public ďthat Trustees had awarded themselves a pay rise from $88,000 to $94600 and overseen a 24% hike in travel expenses to $56000 for the year ended 31st March 2010.ĒWell I suppose travelling around test-flying helicopters is also quite stressful and expensive. I am very supportive of a helicopter rescue service, having made donations previously, but donít like to sit back a see a select few getting fat on the proceeds. Has the time come for his cohorts to wake up and stop making us all fund 'his' empire?Should the funding gravy train stop now?


Warren Slater