Despite being in a ''delightfully comfortable position'',
the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust may need almost $1 million in
donations over the next year, chairman Ross Black says.
The trust receives money under contract from the Ministry of
Health, Southern District Health Board (SDHB), Accident
Compensation Corporation (ACC) and police.
In addition, it receives donations which it uses to cover the
financial shortfall from the cost of operating the Otago
Regional Rescue Helicopter.
Mr Black said the Government contracts had been renegotiated
for the next five years, and essentially the level of funding
had flatlined, despite continued growth in the number of
emergency missions within Otago.
''The new contracts require communities to fund a greater
share of the increased costs of growth in emergency missions.
This increased liability has significant implications for our
trust,'' he said.
Mr Black, of Wanaka, presented the trust's annual report to
the Otago Regional Council at its meeting in Dunedin
He said in the 15 months to June 30, the trust had received
some ''very generous'' donations, including $412,500 from the
The trust was in a good financial position, providing it
continued to receive a high level of community support, he
''Last year, we had to raise $500,000 to make up the
shortfall to operate the helicopter, and if we had 10% growth
during the next year that $500,000 would increase to between
$900,000 and $1 million.''
''When we look at our growth pattern over the last 15 years,
it's been pretty steady. Therefore, it's reasonable to
presume it will continue. Having said that, accidents and
emergencies are not predictable,'' he said.
The number of hours flown during emergency missions increased
by 9% in the past 12 month-equivalent period.
In the 15 months to June 30, the trust received $4.5 million
from government agencies, although the rescue helicopter cost
just over $5 million to operate, leaving a $530,000
The trust received $938,000 in donations and bank interest,
and spent $41,000 on administration, $34,000 on new medical
equipment and set aside $108,000 for depreciation of medical
and rescue equipment.
After covering the $530,000 shortfall, the trust was left
with about $225,000.
Mr Black said the surplus put the trust in a good position
and he was extremely proud of its operation and the service
The trust would spend a little extra employing a general
manager this financial year, but still be able to allocate
about 95c in every dollar donated to the rescue helicopter's
operation, he said.
Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust: (15 months to June
• 563 emergency patients flown to Dunedin Hospital.
• 1032 mission hours flown.
• $835,000 donated.
• Youngest patient: baby boy 16 weeks premature.
• Oldest patient: 91-year-old Wanaka woman.
• 71% missions during day, 29% at night.
• 95c in every dollar donated spent operating helicopter.