17 May 2020

Govt announces $265m sports support package

5:12 pm on 17 May 2020

The government is spending $265 million on the sport and recreation sector to ensure it remains viable and adapts in the wake of Covid-19.

Grant Robertson holding the Budget 2020 ahead of its release.

Grant Robertson ahead of last week's Budget release. Photo: Dom Thomas

In announcing the funding, sports minister Grant Robertson said the coronavirus had resulted in much of the sector's funding dry up and has put sports, particularly at a community level, under immense strain.

"We have also seen many of our professional sports and athletes struggle as competitions have been cancelled or suspended. Budget 2020 will provide some assistance, so they can keep competing."

He said the funding would allow sports at all levels to remain viable, get stronger and adapt.

"Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand will work closely with national sport and recreation organisations, as well as the professional teams and clubs to ensure the new funding is allocated fairly and appropriately across the system," Robertson said.

Robertson said the money will be used for sports at all levels, as they have all been hit hard.

"Funding sources they have had have dried up almost completely in some cases and that ranges all the way from your local taekwondo club all the way up to New Zealand Rugby, so we have to make sure we are doing what we can to support people at all parts of the sporting system," he said.

The four-year package has allocated funding for both the immediate response and future changes that will need to be made in response to Covid-19.

He said boosting domestic competition will be part of that response.

"That is one of the things we will be working through with the national sporting organisations is how do we support quality national level competition and that would be both in the immediate response phase, but also that middle recovery phase because obviously border restrictions are certainly going to be with us for a long time," he said.

How the money will be spent:

  • $83 million in short-term support to help sport and recreation organisations at all levels get through the initial impact of Covid-19.
  • $104 million to help the sector rebuild in the medium term including so national and regional sports organisations can make changes in order to operate successfully in the post-pandemic environment. This will include supporting new operating models and more collaboration.
  • $78 million for innovative approaches to delivering play, active recreation and sport into the future. The world is changing, and this funding will help us use new technology and research in the rebuild from Covid-19 to modernise the sporting sector.

Robertson said across all those areas, the government would provide funding for women's sport and groups who are currently underrepresented in sport like people with disabilities, Māori and those from low socioeconomic groups.

Robertson said the sport and recreation sector contributed about $5 billion a year to New Zealand's GDP and employed more than 53,000 people.

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