A rescue helicopter charity has come out against a proposal to scrap Taupo's chopper base, but says Rotorua's could be covered from Tauranga and Taupo.
Philips Search and Rescue Trust is the charity responsible for the North Island's largest pool of community helicopters including aircraft in Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo.
In a media release this afternoon the trust said it did not support the Government proposal to stop basing helicopters in both Rotorua and Taupo.
"Given the geography of the Central North Island and our experience of the patient pickup point of the pre-hospital emergency missions, we are of a view that discontinuing both Rotorua and Taupo, will see a significant degradation in the public's access to pre-hospital emergency helicopter care."
The trust could, however, "understand the rationalisation of the current three helicopters in the Bay of Plenty...down to two".
Those should be based in Tauranga, as proposed and, in the trust's view, Taupo.
"Helicopters...can get to remote places extremely quickly and if you draw an arc around the area of a helicopter based in Tauranga and Taupo, they virtually entirely overlap the area covered by the current Rotorua service."
Getting rid of Taupo's service would leave the region south of Lake Taupo - a popular recreational spot with fast-changing and challenging climatic conditions - vulnerable, the trust said.
The Trust said it did support many of the changes in the new proposal for how the Government will purchase rescue helicopter and air ambulance services.
That included increasing the scope of services to include carrying doctors and nurses as well as paramedics.
"The proposal does contain a number of excellent service enhancements and quality improvements."
The trust was working with other rescue helicopter trusts to respond to the proposal.
"That response will include a proposal to re-include Taupo."