Rescue helicopter

I heartily agree with Rotorua MP Todd McClay (News, October 6), taking the rescue helicopter away from Rotorua is not something that makes any sense.

Rotorua is strategically placed for the siting of a rescue helicopter, and with all the lakes and rivers we have here a rescue copter is paramount.

It was inevitable that Labour would make mistakes, perhaps if there were a stronger Opposition, then they would not get away with it.

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We need now a massive campaign to have it reinstated, and who better to lead this than Todd McClay? I would think that a concerted effort from all of us may just do the trick. I feel sure that most of the community would support this effort.

Had this Rotorua Lakes Council not wasted, or planned to waste so much money, much could go towards helping us keep the rescue helicopter.

Jim Adams
Rotorua

Trout under threat

For once I will have to disagree with the views of the veteran commentator CC McDowell (Letters, October 6)

Firstly, trout have been in New Zealand for more than 150 years, and are deemed to be a desirable "naturalised" introduced species protected by law.

As to his point that trout are an introduced pest and have devastated the native fresh-water fish, he would be well aware that there have been many other reasons as to the decline in native fisheries, most of them as a result of human activity.

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It is common knowledge for example that over the centuries Māori consumed vast quantities of koura and inanga at hui and tangi. Then, in more recent years we have the ramifications of intensive agricultural land use downstream.

On the other hand, one must ask as to the benefits of trout fishing. Other than the obvious economic benefit, which the last national survey revealed a figure of $400 million in 1991, fishing provides relaxation and exercise for people from all walks of life.

Fish & Game, which has managed the trout stocks nationally for over 50 years now, advise that it issues over 130,000 trout fishing licences each year. Income from these licences has in the past been used to fight for clean water and protect the environment.

What is a pity in this case of the Government discreetly proposing an amendment to the Conservation Act, is that Fish and Game, which has been the guardians of trout stocks, has not even been consulted. Interestingly enough, it is evident that iwi have been involved as the new bill will allow Treaty settlements to "override several important elements of the management regime".

Mike McVicker
Rotorua