Cost of Otago 4WD rescue mission rises another $11k

The cost to rescue 38 four wheel drive enthusiasts who became stuck in snow near Roxburgh in May just went up another $11,000.

The group was on a day trip when snow trapped them on the Waikaia Bush Road, on Old Man Range in Otago.

The New Zealand Defence Force flew their NH90 helicopter to the scene in an effort to rescue the stranded group.

A spokesman said the direct flying costs for the Waikaia Road task in May totalled $11,532.

"Part of the NZDF outputs is support to other Government agencies and this includes the New Zealand Police," he said.

Hear from Daniel who was among the 36 stuck on a Central Otago road, Chris Coory from Dunedin Search and Rescue and Inspector Olaf Jensen who has some advice for the adventurous Source: 1 NEWS

"The costs associated with tasks in support of other Government agencies are allocated for in the annual flying budget, which is set at the start of the financial year.

"Tasks such as the Waikaia Road search and rescue also allow us to gain valuable experience and training opportunities that we can apply in humanitarian and disaster relief scenarios and stability and security operations."

Yesterday, police released the figure of their rescue effort - $56,927.53.

That puts the total cost of the rescue at $68,459.53, not including the volunteer hours of NZ Land and Rescue personnel.

Police Inspector Olaf Jensen pointed out that "cost is never a factor over the safety and welfare of those needing assistance when determining the appropriate course of action or which resources to use."

One of the 4WD drivers, Curtis Martelli, said he's just happy everyone got out alive and is safe.

The group arrived at the Roxburgh Football Club following a large rescue mission provoked by a surprise snowstorm. Source: 1 NEWS

It's decent dry weather, but there's a wet front moving in

TVNZ weatherman Dan Corbett has the latest weather forecast. Source: 1 NEWS


Police covering airport security roles a ludicrous idea, Police Association says

The Police Association is pouring cold water on a plan to use police officers to man airport security in a bid to reduce disruptions for travellers from planned strike action by security staff.

A showdown could be looming over the threat of strike action by airport security staff. Source: 1 NEWS

Aviation Security staff are proposing to run a series of three-hour strikes at Auckland Airport and Wellington Airport during the upcoming July school holiday period.

The Prime Minister John Key says Cabinet was briefed on the matter yesterday and says customs staff or police could "potentially" fill the void at airports.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor says the idea is ludicrous. 

He said it would raise the prospect of police maintaining order at a picket line while other officers carried out the jobs of those protesting.

"It couldn't happen. It would be a conflict of roles. That's without even looking at the legality of it," Mr O'Connor says.

The Public Service Association and E Tu have agreed to attend mediation proposed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but both unions say strike notices for the industrial action will remain in place.

Airport operations staff in Auckland and Wellington are threatening to walk off the job. Source: 1 NEWS

"We're hopeful Aviation Security Services will be able to bring an offer to the table which will resolve this stalemate," says PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the issue is a matter for the CAA to deal with as they see fit.

He says there has been a strong pay offer by the CAA and when compared across the public sector it is at the upper end of what has been seen.

Airport security check for hazardous materials. Source: 1 NEWS

Labour Leader Andrew Little, however, says security staff are under increasing pressures and are looking for reasonable pay increases.

He says it's up to the government to sit down and sort the matter out.  

When asked today about the Government not ruling out bringing in police to cover the strike, Mr Little described such as move as "good old fashioned National union bashing".