A contract for the merger of two air ambulance services in the North Island is close to getting the sign-off.
The Northland Emergency Services Trust and Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust are set to amalgamate and become the Northern Rescue Helicopter Trust.
CEO of the Auckland trust Greg Barrow says it still has to organise staffing numbers.
"We're just finalising the number of paramedics we're going to use, and where those paramedics are going to be based."
The three-year contract should be signed in the next month, and the new service will start running next year.
"[The] agreement in principle is part of a 10-year programme lead by clinicians that will modernise our aging air ambulance fleet, increase crew numbers and reduce call out times," said Health Minister David Clark.
"Nationally, the new contracts will mean more permanent staff on base and include an emphasis on ensuring crew and clinical staff are closer at hand to reduce call out time. We want to get expert medical assistance to people in need as fast as we can."