Helping those who can easily help themselves by Susan Grimsdell

Helicopter rescue

Westpac Rescue Helicopter

I searched on Google but could not find the cost of operating the Westpac Helicopter service. However, I did discover that for Greymouth and Christchurch the total is $10 million a year.  Let’s estimate that for the whole country it’s $100 million a year.

Westpac takes a billion dollars from New Zealand in profits every year, year after year.  $100 million is 10% of that.  Westpac gets incalculable benefit from the advertising associated with its helicopters.  Very positive advertising too – nothing negative about running a rescue helicopter service! Why can’t Westpac fund its own helicopter service instead of expecting New Zealanders to dig into their pockets?  They get the publicity, they should cover the costs.

Church rescue

St Gerard’s Catholic Church in Wellington recently closed.

Similarly, why can’t the Anglican church, one of the wealthiest organisations on the planet, pay the costs of fixing its own cathedral in Christchurch instead of trying to get the New Zealand taxpayer to fork out?  Especially since barely 12% of New Zealanders identify as Anglican.

St Gerard’s Catholic Church recently closed in Wellington.  The newspapers reported people crying, so sad to lose their church and no one could fail to recognise the valuable social role churches play in the community.  St Gerard’s needed $11 million to refurbish it to make it safe. 

Once again, is there a wealthier outfit in the whole world than the Catholic Church?  One artwork off the walls of the Vatican would more than cover the cost of fixing St Gerard’s.  But no – New Zealanders are expected to fundraise, even though only 11% of us identify as Catholic.  When not enough was raised, the church was closed.  What would Jesus think about that, I wonder.  Let’s not forget that the churches pay no taxes, yet they’re all too quick to want money from those who do pay taxes – mugs like you and me. 

Help where help is needed

I feel as though I’m a lone voice crying in the wilderness. We should all be shouting out about this kind of thing.   Isn’t the principle we live by that we help those who can’t help themselves?  This does not include superwealthy organisations like Westpac and churches.   

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