Ambulance funding boost a 'band-aid' - Peters

  • Updated
  • 15/05/2017

Prime Minister Bill English has ruled out fully funding ambulance services, saying it's part of St John's "ethos" that they keep a "volunteer aspect".

But New Zealand First says a funding boost for St John Ambulance services is not enough to cope with growing demand.

The Government yesterday said single-crewing would be out by 2021, but not all of the new roles would be filled by paramedics. Each year 40,000 callouts are attended by a paramedic working alone. 

It's not widely known St John is a charity, and its costs are not fully covered by taxpayer money.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says the $60 million increase is a band-aid fix.

"Ambulance services have been screaming out for help for a long, long time. People have been seriously damaged by not getting the kind of people they should have got, early enough."

Wellington Free Ambulance CEO Diana Crossan agrees the extra funding is only the start of what is needed.

"We're pleased that we're getting what we're getting, but we've kept saying to them, it's not enough."

Mr Peters says the rapid growth of tourism and fast-growing numbers on our roads mean we need to better equip our emergency services.

But Mr English told The AM Show on Monday ambulance operators are "not asking for full funding, we're not promising full funding".

"I think it's part of the ethos of the ambulance services. They've got a volunteer aspect to them. They've always has good community support.

"The proportion of funding is fairly high, and as I understand it has been steady over the years. When you visit the ambulance services they have got pretty good gear these days. Their staff are very well-trained."