National believes New Zealand is facing a crisis in sport and recreation as a result of Covid-19 and the Government needs to work with the sector to prevent this, National’s Sport and Recreation spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“The Epidemic Response Committee today heard from members of the sport and recreation sector who highlighted the massive challenges they’re facing, with women’s sport and community sport most at risk.
“The Government has announced some funding but $25 million is not enough. Sporting organisations are being hit with a drop in sponsorship, community trust funding and broadcasting revenue. There are also questions about whether the funding is being targeted to the right place.
“These organisations are serious about health and safety and are changing the way they operate to respond to Covid-19. The Exercise Association of New Zealand has developed comprehensive safety frameworks that in some cases are even more stringent than the Governments, yet their members still have no idea when they will be able to open their businesses again.
“It is also totally unacceptable that the New Zealand Athletes Federation has not been adequately consulted by Sports NZ. Athletes have experienced huge changes to their livelihoods with the challenges of trying to train and dealing with the psychological impact and uncertainty of Covid-19.
“This is a sector that desperately needs certainty. National believes the Government needs to do the following:
- Provide a much larger recovery funding package for the sport and recreation sector
- Provide a plan that clearly sets out how sport and recreation can operate under the different levels for the next 12 months
- Ensure athletes are being directly engaged by Sports NZ
- Address the vulnerabilities and discrimination for women in sport
- Deliver a plan to consider maximum innovation for professional sport
- Ensure there is more direct funding for national sporting organisations and clubs so children’s and community sport survives
“Sport and recreation in New Zealand is facing enormous challenges and the Government needs to step up. Otherwise we will be a less active nation and could lose part of the fabric of New Zealand and potentially a generation of athletes.”