14 Aug 2012

High-performance athletes' funding on hold for now

2:00 pm on 14 August 2012

Olympic sporting codes are preparing to fight for funding following a Government decision to freeze its investment in sport.

Funding for high-performance athletes will remain at about $60 million a year for the foreseeable future.

Sport Minister Murray McCully says the funding has increased by about 50% since 2010 and no more money is available to build on the success in London.

Equestrian Sport New Zealand says it deserves more money, and Canoe Racing New Zealand also wants a boost in funding, following Lisa Carrington's gold medal.

Swimming New Zealand, which failed to get a medal, says it realises other sports may be after its funding, which was the fourth highest at the Olympics behind rowing, cycling and sailing.

'Huge step up' in resourcing being worked on

Mr McCully says funding was increased from $40 million to $60 million in 2010, with some of that going towards new venues and other sporting infrastructure.

He says the Government is currently working on a "huge step up in high-performance sport resourcing, which will be concluded by about 2014, at which point hopefully the budget freeze will be thawing somewhat".

Mr McCully says decisions about how the funding is spent, and on which sports, are up to Sport New Zealand.

Canoe Racing New Zealand says the message has already gone out that spending will be flatlining over the next couple of years, so Mr McCully's comments are in line with its expectations.

The group is part of the Canoeing Federation, which has been given $4.3 million in the past four years.

Canoe Racing New Zealand's chief executive, Paula Kearns, says the minister has done extraordinarily well in getting extra money for sport over the past couple of years.