Overwhelming majority of Kiwis think St John should be fully funded, new poll finds

New Zealanders believe St John Ambulance should be fully funded by the Government, the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll has revealed.

The Government currently funds 72% of St John's operating costs through the Ministry of Health and ACC.

The other 28%, about $65 million, comes from ambulance charges and fundraising.

Of those polled, 88% responded that St John should be fully funded by the Government.

Nine per cent were against the idea and 3% did not know.

This month saw St John go public with its demand that the Government come to its aid to keep the service running.

The charity is facing a multi-million dollar deficit and says it is receiving mixed messages from the Government.

Chief Executive Peter Bradley said it was "absolutely right the Government steps in right now and does the right thing for us".

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The charity is facing a multi-million-dollar deficit. Source: 1 NEWS

"Enough is enough, now is the time to sort it out," he said.

Health Minister David Clark said he was not unsympathetic to the calls from St John.

"They do a great job, but there are a lot of calls on the health dollar."

Mr Bradley said that was not acceptable and they could not wait another two years for full funding.

St John is currently facing a $10 million deficit and made a call in February to increase staff and ambulance numbers in Christchurch, which proved crucial in the response to the March 15 terrorist attacks.

Read more: St John manager says 'our staff deserve better' as service asks Government for more funding

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said the service was a "really critical and essential service around the country".

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Murray Holt puts his case on Seven Sharp. Source: Seven Sharp

When asked about NZ First's view on fully funding the service, Mr Peters said: "Are we looking at it seriously? Yes we are.

"Do they deserve a better go? Yes they do, most definitely."

Between April 6 and 10, 1009 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

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The ambulance service is in a financial crisis, one Government MO admits. Source: 1 NEWS