For many years now a common sight on our roads, complete with sirens, the St Johns (or Wellington Free Ambulance et al) ambulances have been rushing to save lives and deliver to ED it's daily diet of sick, ill, maimed, wounded human cargo. And for all that time, barring a few, each patient has been charged for that service.
10 years ago around 700,000 people smoked. Since the price hikes in cigarettes the numbers have dropped in 2013 census to 468,000. In the same span, the tax take from cigarettes means an extra $1.4billion a year ending up in Health Budget!! So let's get savvy, apportion funding to Free Ambulances including Rescue Helicopter. And if they still have money left over after that exercise, fund full time Surf Life Saving and each monitored beach has a drone. I like the California model, surf lifesavers are officers of the law.