Rotorua MP Todd McClay says National will bring back the city's rescue helicopter after it was sold two years ago.
McClay made the announcement alongside National's health spokesman Dr Shane Reti in Rotorua today. Reti said National would, if elected, pledge $1.6 million annually for four years to return Rotorua's rescue helicopter.
"Rotorua's Rescue Helicopter should never have been sold. This is an extremely busy area and a cost can't be put on saving lives."
McClay said since it was sold, demand for the service had continued to be high.
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"It is the only rescue chopper in the country that was cancelled. There have been incidents where a rescue helicopter was too far away and ground support was used instead. In other cases, a helicopter had been sent from Hamilton or Auckland or Taranaki. This just doesn't make sense."
He said he had heard concerns from local people and had secured funding to bring the helicopter back if National is elected next month.
"In order to ensure its long-term sustainability, it would be operated locally by the Rotorua Rescue Helicopter Trust which was formed in 2018. The people of Rotorua will own this rescue and emergency helicopter to ensure it cannot be sold off again.
"We need to bring it back this is a vital emergency service for Rotorua."
Rotorua is 14 minutes flying time from Tauranga; 18 minutes from Taupō and 26 minutes from Hamilton (under optimal flying conditions).
Trust chairman Mark Mortimer said the announcement was fantastic news for Rotorua.
He said the rescue helicopter should never have been taken away from Rotorua.
Reti has pledged $6.4 million over 4 years if National wins, however, Mortimer said they will still need community funding to support it.