Queenstown’s life-saving air rescue group gets $60,000

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Queenstown’s MP Bill English handed over almost $60,000 to the local rescue helicopter service this afternoon.

The Clutha-Southland MP gave Lakes District Air Rescue Trust a cheque worth $57, 470 at their headquarters near Queenstown Airport at 2pm today.

“LDART provides an essential service. I am privileged to be able to present a cheque today to further support their work in the Southern Lakes,” deputy Prime Minister English says.

Four helicopter companies – The Helicopter Line, Glacier Southern Lakes and Heliworks in Queenstown and Te Anau-based Southern Lakes Helicopters – give life-saving assistance in the Southern Lakes region.

English says he’s impressed by the co-operative, which provides a high level of emergency service “pretty much on the smell of an oily rag”.

“I would cash it before GST goes up,” English quipped when he presented the cheque to Queenstown’s Jules Tapper (pictured), who was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to aviation and tourism last month.

LDART’s secretary manager Tony Hill says the money will top up trust coffers after about $40,000 was dished out last month for a new defibrillator, which is used to restart hearts.

The extra funding is part of a $48m injection by the government to a NZ Ambulance Services Strategy over four years.