Chairman’s Report

It has been a busy first half of 2016 with 61 missions undertaken, a change in crew, and a large grant from the TSB CommunityTrust. The missions flown haven’t increased in number so much but the types of missions certainly have, with the Taranaki base seeing a significant increase in emergency ambulance responses. We are incredibly grateful to the TSB Community Trust for a grant of $1m, which will cover a portion of the loan used to purchase our new helicopter in 2013. None of these funds will go towards operational costs, so your support is still vital to keep the service operating. TRHT operates in a highly regulated industry, which comes with significant costs – more than $1.5m per annum. Government contracts cover 40-45% of these, but the Trust is tasked with sourcing the remainder from the community served. To keep costs down, while still delivering a professional service to the community, we operate with a team of just six FTE staff including two pilots, two crew and two administrators. Our efforts have been recognised with these efficiencies being used as part of a study by the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO).
As general manager in a part-time role since 2013, Maurice Betts has done an outstanding job of implementing some of the systems that have driven these efficiencies. The Board’s intention was always to handover the GM reins to a fulltime staff member and the Board have every confidence that Andy Cronin, our senior crewman, is the right person to take over from Maurice. Maurice will be overviewing this transition over the next 12 months and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maurice and wish him well on the golf course and in his studio. I am very excited to announce Sarah Sharp has joined the rescue helicopter crew, replacing Ben Wallbank, our full-time crewman since 2014 who is leaving to join the NZ Police. Sarah is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for helping others, and has volunteered with our marine team between 2009 and 2012. After time abroad, she has returned to Taranaki and we now welcome her to the team. We wish Ben all the best with his new venture and thank him for his dedication over the last two years. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to all new Friends of the rescue helicopter and a heartfelt thank you to the ongoing Friends and sponsors who continue to support us. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to provide this vital service to our beautiful region.
Bryce Barnett
Chairman, Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust