There have been massive issues raised around the Government’s handling of sport and recreation by the sector and the Minister responsible needs to address them, National’s Sport and Recreation spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“The Athletes Federation has been critical around the lack of direct engagement by Sport NZ with athletes and has described the entity as ‘incommunicative and lacking transparency’.

“This is a time when we need athletes, through their representative bodies, working in partnership with Sport NZ to drive and lead our recovery. The Minister needs to act to resolve these relationship issues immediately.

“The Government has also failed to adequately recognise the ability of outdoor sporting events to operate in a safe way. Not all events should be considered large gatherings depending on the way they are managed.

“Outdoor sporting events such as running events have developed policies and procedures that are incredibly stringent and would not actually involve large congregations of people. They involve vast landscapes, enforcing social distancing, technology for online entries and electronic tracking which would allow staggered start times and stringent contact tracing.

“There are already more than 2500 people who have signed a petition on this issue and the Government should hear their proposals out.

“Sports clubs are caught up in the stringent hospitality rules and it will be impossible for many of them to operate under level 2.

“Many do not have the facilities and staff/volunteers available to undertake the table service requirement as they only have walk up facilities related to their bar and restaurant. The additional funding provided for clubs to operate is inadequate as well and equates to another blow to the viability of community sports clubs in New Zealand. 

“National has advocated for the Government to provide a larger financial recovery funding package for the sport and recreation sector and a comprehensive plan to address community sport funding and funding for women in sport. If we don’t see this investment soon then sport and recreation will not recover for years to come.

“Sport NZ are dropping the ball. We need the Minister to urgently step up to resolve these issues for the sport and recreation sector.” 

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