Auckland Rescue Helicopters chief executive resigns, 10 months after old boss left amid bullying allegations

Pilots and crew at Auckland Rescue Helicopters are facing fresh turmoil. 

Just 10 months after their boss resigned amid allegations of bullying, its new chief executive has also stepped down. 

Staff have been told there's potential for job losses, with a proposal to contract out operations to another company. 

They've been told in a letter their performance isn't up to scratch. The proposal to outsource operations "potentially affects pilots, crew and maintenance roles and means these roles could be disestablished".

"In these circumstances, people tend to look at the worst-case scenario," aviation commentator Irene King told Newshub. "And it's hugely unsettling."

Acting rescue helicopters chief executive Michelle Boag, told Newshub that outgoing boss Mark Newman "did a fantastic job in a very stressful environment". 

But Newman's exit follows the earlier departure of former boss Greg Barrow amid allegations of bullying and intimidation. 

Newshub understands staff are shocked and distracted by these latest proposed changes. 

There are concerns plans to outsource operations, including piloting and crewing services, could impact public safety.

Although Boag denies there's a safety issue, saying that's "always the top priority". 

Maintenance company, Airwork, has been earmarked to take over operations.

Rescue helicopters are monitored by the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO).

King said NASO's putting too much pressure on rescue organisations. 

"It has been driven by technical health bureaucrats based in Wellington who have very limited understanding of what it actually takes to deliver the services."

But NASO says Maintenance issues in Auckland and Whangarei have meant fixed wing aircraft and road ambulances have been used when choppers haven't been available, and it's encouraging options are being considered to address the concerns.