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Life Flight puts case for funding

Life Flight’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter in action. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

SHEA TURNER
[email protected]

Life Flight flies a patient from Wairarapa to Wellington once every two days – but it needs public help to keep going.

At the Masterton District Council Long-Term Plan hearing last week, a Life Flight spokesperson said it had a $683,820 shortfall in funding, and asked for $17,500 a year for three years.

The council heard the trust performed 189 lifesaving flights for Wairarapa residents in the past year, with 112 of those from Masterton.

Marketing and fundraising manager Sebastian Grodd said getting people from Wairarapa to Wellington Hospital by air could change a patient’s outcome quite dramatically.

The funding would help pay for aircraft fuel and maintenance, medical and rescue equipment, and staff salaries.

Grodd said Life Flight Trust had funding contracts with the Ministry of Health, ACC and District Health Boards.

However, this funding only added up to half of the cost to save a life. The other half had to come from the community.

He said covid-19 highlighted how important long-term funding agreements were for them.

“Covid was massive for us. It was a time when the community needed more from us and it was a time when fundraising was so difficult.”

He said long-term funding agreements meant they could forecast better, as fundraising events and personal donations tended to fluctuate.

Direct marketing manager Lyndal Bremer said Life Flight was delighted to deliver their service in the Wairarapa region and many in the community were thankful for the work it had done.

Public submissions to the long-term plan ended last week, and the council would deliberate on all submissions on June 2.

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