St John Ambulance has a tough job in Christchurch right now, so it helps to have a couple of tough Isuzu D-Max utes to go the distance.

Isuzu New Zealand has supplied extra assistance around the two 4WD double-cab utes just bought by St John for the district.

“Our paramedics and fast response vehicles are being called into some areas which are very difficult to access,” explained David Thomas, General Manager of St John South Island Region.

“With the state of the roads and roadside areas, some of them deteriorating almost daily in the earthquake-hit suburbs, four-wheel-drive is virtually essential for access.”

Mr Thomas said in some areas such as the Port Hills the only viable transport is helicopter, and in bad weather that can become marginal.

“A four-wheel ute is the answer, especially where you are going up a farm track because the road is unusable.

“The vehicle needs to be strong and tough, yet manoeuvrable and simple to drive and work out of.

“We trialed the Isuzu D-Max and found it met and exceeded our demands.

“Isuzu have been generous in providing additional assistance and now both D-Max vehicles are in constant use in and around Christchurch,” said Mr Thomas.

“Our people enjoy driving them, they are convenient and safe.”

St John lost five buildings around Christchurch in the earthquakes, and 34 of their staff lost homes.

“It’s been a massive disruption, as well as worrying time for our staff who are regularly being called into buildings where safety may be questionable,” Mr Thomas commented.

“Simply to get some unwell people out of their homes nowadays, our staff have to plan an egress route on the way in. Then there’s the issue of vehicle access – which is where the Isuzu four-wheel-drive is so useful.”

Each of the utes, supplied by Christchurch dealer Silvester Isuzu, is fitted with a locking canopy to store medical equipment plus towbar and flashing lights.

Recognising the importance of reliable vehicles to emergency response organisations in Christchurch, Isuzu has signalled a longterm commitment.

“I have seen many of the worst-hit areas myself and I know it’s going to take years to rebuild the infrastructure of Christchurch and Canterbury,” said the General Manager of Isuzu, Greg MacDonald.

“Isuzu is here for the long haul. We know the environment is going to be tough on vehicles and we’re confident the D-Max, the only ute made by a truck maker, will go the distance.”

“Plus New Zealanders like to know they are relying on fellow Kiwis, especially with a trusted brand like Isuzu. We take pride in providing a completely locally-owned network, right through the nationwide dealer network and the national import company.

“Kiwis know a good ute when they drive one and Isuzu D-Max, the toughest of them all, delivers.” said Mr MacDonald.