Proposed cuts to funding for New Zealand's rescue helicopter services could cost lives, says Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand.
The National Ambulance Sector Office is proposing to rationalise rescue helicopter services across New Zealand.
Federated Mountain Clubs president Peter Wilson says they're concerned increased flying time would put trampers, hunters, and climbers at risk.
Rescue helicopter services in Taupo and Te Anau are among those proposed to be cut, being replaced with centralised services further away.
"Getting to injured people in the golden hour is critical", said Wilson.
"Given New Zealand mountain-flying conditions, placing rescue services as close to the mountains as possible is necessary. If we move the helicopter bases out, they just won't be able to fly as much.
"The National Ambulance Office seems to have developed these centralisation plans in isolation from local communities."
He said Tongariro National Park and Fiordland National Park - both areas where recreation and tourism are booming - would be particularly hard hit as their rescue services would be pulled back to further afield.
"Given the tourism boom in New Zealand, this makes no sense."
Wilson said he urged the National Ambulance Board to "press pause" on the plans and allow a chance for consultation and feedback.
"If they don't slow these changes down, people could die."
Earlier this week Taupo's Greenlea helicopter pilot Nat Every said Hawke's Bay patients could have to wait at least 50 minutes for help if proposals to scrap bases in Taupo and Rotorua went ahead.
The longer wait was likely to occur in cases when the Hastings-based rescue helicopter was unavailable, as it last Friday when the Greenlea helicopter was dispatched toward Tutira.
"People in Hawke's Bay need to be aware of the implications it will have on them.
"Combined, the Taupo and Rotorua helicopters, last year did more than 400 jobs. Those jobs aren't going to go away - someone is going to have to pick them up."
Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust last week said the proposed changes would not affect Hawke's Bay, which had retained its service, and that the trust was supportive of them.
General manager Ian Wilmot said proposed changes to air ambulance and rescue helicopter services will be likely to improve the efficiency of the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust operations.
Earlier this month Taupo district mayor David Trewavas said people will die if Taupo's rescue helicopter service is withdrawn.