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Coastguard calls for govt funding

Published: 12:59PM Thursday May 31, 2007 Source: Newstalk ZB

There are calls for the government to fund New Zealand's Coastguard fleet after claims the national organisation is struggling with a multi million dollar bill to replace boats and equipment.

National Coastguard president Steve Cruikshank says two management positions will be terminated to help fund the $16 million refurbishment bill.

Laurie Watkins from the Kapiti Coast's Mana Coastguard says its arm of the organisation is seriously struggling.  It needs $1.5 million to replace a 30-year-old boat which can only travel 11 knots at the fastest. 

Watkins says anywhere else in the world the national sea rescue service would be government funded.

He believes volunteers' lives should not have to be put at risk every time they conduct a rescue because there is not enough funding to replace shoddy equipment.