Kerre McIvor: If your own stupidity triggers a rescue you should pay

Kerre McIvor ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 22 January 2019, 12:25PM
The Kawarau River rapids were the scene of a rescue on Sunday night. Photo / Chris Atkinson

I always wondered when the searchers and rescuers in this country would finally snap.

It appears that time has come.

Queenstown's harbour master and a rescue helicopter pilot based in the South, have come out and said what so many of us have been thinking for years - if people need to be rescued through their own incredibly stupid actions, they should pay for it.

Two men were rescued on Sunday night after heading out onto the Kawerau River on an inflatable mattress.

Marty Black, the harbour master, refused to send out a jet ski to rescue the idiots as it was too dangerous and would put rescuers at risk.

Instead, a helicopter search and rescue team went out and picked up the pair at about 11 o'clock.

The harbour master said he was dead against the public having to foot the bill when those who needed rescuing were at fault. He said he wasn't against rescuing them - but they needed to take responsibility for their actions.

Otago Rescue Helicopters chief pilot backed up Marty Black's comments - if it's your stupidity that put you in that situation, if you were doing something that was ridiculous, then you should pay. Hear, hear.

Look, accidents happen. Even the best prepared and most experienced adventurers in this country can come unstuck through pure bad luck. And search and rescue personnel are willing to put their own lives at risk in those circumstances because they know that one day, they might be the ones setting off the emergency signals.

We all do stupid things - especially when we're young - and generally live to tell the tale. But personal accountability people!

I was told by one of our surf lifesavers that most people, when they're rescued, walk away with barely a thank you. Very seldom do they receive a tangible expression of gratitude in the form of a donation. And that's just unacceptable. You do something so incredibly stupid that other people risk their own lives to save your sorry skin - the very least you can do is pay for the cost of your rescue.

Speaking of paying, it's an outrage that a woman who the court has accepted was most likely abused, has to pay the legal costs of a convicted rapist. Mariya Taylor was driven out of the Defence Force when she was victimised by her boss.

She took a claim against the Defence Force but legal niceties meant she lost the case and the rapist sued her for his legal costs. The Defence Force was going to go after her too but Jacinda Ardern stepped in and dissuaded the Force from doing so. Yes, it's his legal right to go his victim for costs and yes, the courts have to follow the rule of law, but this is - yet again -an example of the law not being justice.

And finally, and I do apologise for going on, but a lot's got right up my snozz this morning, why isn't Andrew Little back in New Zealand sorting out this country's justice system and failure to protect women. He appeared at the United Nation's Universal Periodic Review in Geneva last night confessing all New Zealand's sins to the rest of the world and mea culpa-ing like the most sorrowful penitent.

New Zealand's justice system is broken he said and we're failing New Zealand women. Quite right, said the rest of the countries there, pursing their lips.

Shocking carry on. Dreadful treatment of Māori said Egypt, Indonesia and Russia. Sort yourselves out. Russia, for heaven's sake. Taking the moral high ground. It's a wonder the roof didn't cave in.

This country isn't perfect - and certainly, we can make improvements. But what on earth is a group counselling session among UN nations doing to fix things? Hi I'm Andrew, I'm from New Zealand and we lock too many people up. Hi Andrew, you're safe here. A load of well-meaning tosh.

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