There is a revolt in the ranks of St John Ambulance officers in Te Anau, with five of 13 volunteers resigning and others threatening to walk away.
They are angry that the ambulance service is seeking to employ a full-time, paid ambulance officer.
Te Anau volunteers cover an area that includes Te Anau, Manapouri and Milford.
St John says it is recruiting because it has the funding to do so and its model of having a permanent officer works in the rest of the country.
Chief executive James Wood says he is not prepared to delay the changes.