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Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard

Hibiscus Coast App

Staff Reporter

17 May 2024, 9:28 PM

Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguardFunding boost supports critical water safety

Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will receive a significant funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, according to Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey.

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

"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, save lives, and work 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, rescue equipment, facilities, and maintenance for both organisations.

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

"I 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."

The 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.

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.

“New Zealand has a tragically high drowning toll, and this 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,” Mr Doocey said.

“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,” Mr Brown added.

This funding underscores the Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of New Zealanders as they enjoy the nation’s beaches and waterways.