St John is under fire for an advertisement, which appeared to exploit the terrorist attacks that hit two Christchurch mosques on March 15.
The organisation, which provides ambulance services in New Zealand, set up a donations page on Friday, March 22, asking people to help support its crews who responded to the Christchurch tragedy.
The donations page was live over the weekend and deleted on Monday morning, March 25.
Auckland Paramedic Christine Keighley said she doubted St John staff had received any of the money raised through the campaign.
"I think it would be difficult to accurately record the figure donated in good faith to those crews who attended [the mosque attacks]," Keighley said.
She added that setting up such a campaign was "insensitive... on the back of such a horrific event". It "exploited the staff who attended," Keighley said.
St John communications advisor Ngarie Jones said the donations received had been placed in a dedicated bank account. The funds would help support St John staff affected by the tragedy and help the organisation in Christchurch.
Jones said a Christchurch-based team would be established to decide how the money donated would be used to support services in the area.
St John chief executive Peter Bradley said the donations page had been set up in response to "a large number of public requests". It was set up on the St John website late on Friday but never promoted, advertised or listed elsewhere. Due to internal feedback, the link was removed first thing Monday morning.
Bradley said St John was increasingly reliant on public donations. The funding model "needs to be addressed once and for all", he said.
"Our people a do a magnificent job – including their response to the horrific events in Christchurch on Friday, March 15. I couldn’t be prouder of them all."
FIRST Union ambulance organiser Sarah Stone was critical of working conditions at St John, where frontline staff continue to strike for better pay.
"It’s not attractive for people to come and work at St John. The money is not attractive, the conditions are not attractive," Stone said.