Rescues for 'stupid mistakes' shouldn't be footed by public - harbourmaster

News 22/01/2019
Coromandel rescue helicopter.

A harbourmaster argues that the public shouldn't have to pay for rescue missions due to people making "stupid mistakes".

Marty Black, Queenstown harbour master, says he refused to send a jetski out on Monday to rescue two men who got caught in rapids on an inflatable mattress. Instead, a helicopter and search and rescue crew were sent and successfully rescued them by 11pm.

"What's frustrating as far as I sit is that it's made by their own stupidity. What I say is why don't they pay?" Mr Black told Magic Talk.

But Magic Talk host Peter Williams countered, arguing that it's difficult to define what a stupid mistake is.

"Who makes the decision as to whether or not somebody has been stupid?" Williams told Mr Black.

According to the Otago Daily Times, a helicopter search and rescue mission costs about $2000 an hour. This, Mr Black reckons, should be passed on to the people who were rescued.

"If you're silly enough to make a stupid mistake when you've been told not to go... You got to take responsibility for your own safety."

Listen to the full interview with Marty Black above.

Magic Talk.