Friday, June 14, 2024

Lifeguard, coastguard get $63.6m from Budget 2024

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Making the announcement at Howick Beach this morning were, from left, Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Transport Minister Simeon Brown. Photo supplied

Howick Coastguard received a visit from Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Transport Minister Simeon Brown for the announcement of a cash injection for lifeguards and coastguard from Budget 2024.

The two east Auckland MPs were joined by Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey at the event today at Howick Beach this morning.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.6 million over four years, Brown and Doocey said in a statement.

“Heading to the beach for a day of fun in the water is part of the Kiwi way of life, particularly in summer.

“With that comes inherent risk and these frontline organisations do critical work to help ensure people can head home safe.

“This funding will ensure that Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand can continue to deliver water safety services and save lives, and keep up their efforts to reduce New Zealand’s high drowning toll on the water and beaches.

“Costs are rising across the board for these largely volunteer-driven organisations.

“The funding will cover operational expenses for both organisations as well as rescue equipment, facilities and maintenance.

“The work of close to 4,500 volunteer lifeguards at Surf Life Saving New Zealand provide the public with an incredible service.

“We want to thank all of those people who help keep Kiwis safe in, on, or around the water for the work that they do each summer.

“This funding injection will contribute to lifeguard training and gear, beach and coastal safety initiatives, as well as maintaining and upgrading lifesaving club buildings.

“Coastguard New Zealand rescues over 6,000 people who get into trouble on the water each year and, with demand for their water safety services growing, this funding will ensure they can continue to deliver their essential prevention and rescue services.”

Funding for Coastguard New Zealand will cover personal protective equipment, critical marine communications equipment and the continued provision of emergency call-out rescue services for recreational boat users that get into trouble out on the water.

Doocey added that New Zealand has a tragically high drowning toll.

The Government is committed to investing in these frontline organisations so they continue their work saving hundreds of lives each year and ensuring thousands of people return home safe after a day at the beach or on the water.

“Our Government is investing in the frontline and New Zealanders can expect to see more of that in Budget 24, as well as tax relief for low-and-middle-income workers,” Brown says.

Following the announcement, Luxon took to social media to say heading to the beach, lake, or river for a day of fun in the water is part of the Kiwi way of life, particularly in summer.

“With that comes inherent risk and Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand do critical work to help ensure people can head home from their day in or on the water safely.

“These frontline organisations save lives every day and do very important work in preventing water incidents and delivering water safety education.

“That’s why today we announced a funding boost for Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand of $63.6 million over four years.

“Both organisations are facing significant cost pressures and our Government’s investment will ensure they can continue their work saving lives and keeping people safe.”

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