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Announcement of Sport Review - Speech

Trevor Mallard

28 June 2000 Speech Notes

Speech to Lincoln University Regional Education Degree Students' Function
Announcement of Sport Review

It's a pleasure to be here tonight.

It's actually quite a big relief. After six months of being Minister for Sport and addressing sporting audiences about our proposed review, I'm actually in a position now to release the terms of reference and announce who will conduct the review.

First let me go over why I think it's important that Government be involved in sport, fitness and leisure in the first place.

While Government does not ‘own’ sport in New Zealand, we do have a responsibility for encouraging vision and leadership – and that has been sadly lacking in recent years.

As a Government, we have a vested interest in increasing participation in sport and fitness activities. There are benefits to employment, counteracting criminal and other anti-social behaviour, and health. The health benefits are particularly critical - latest reports show that one of the causal factors in 6 out of 10 biggest killers in New Zealand was a lack of physical activity. That's a tragic indictment, but it's a statistic that I will use around the Cabinet table to convince my colleagues to consider money for vote:sport a good investment.

One of the Government's six key goals is to strengthen national identity. We must celebrate our national identity. Certainly the sporting sector is an important vehicle to achieving that goal.

I think we can all remember times when as a country we have burst with pride at the success of some of our sporting heroes. We do have a role, in government, to support excellence so we can experience more of those magic moments.

Before I announce details of the review into sport, I’d like to go over some recent history and set the scene a bit.

In 1985 the then Labour Government commissioned a wide-ranging inquiry into sport in New Zealand. The subsequent report “Sport on the Move” accompanied a parallel review “Recreation and Government in New Zealand.” The findings of these reports set up the current environment, which included the establishment of a Crown Entity, the Hillary Commission. In addition, a funding stream through the Lottery Grants Board to assist sport, fitness and leisure organisations was secured. The 1995 "Winning Way" report resulted in an improved partnership between the public and private sector for the support of high performance sport.

Since the 1985 reviews, New Zealand has experienced substantial social and economic change and global shifts in sport and leisure behaviour have occurred. Our ability to enhance the quality and quantity of sport, fitness and leisure in New Zealand will be dependent, to a large extent, on our readiness to change and our ability to meet the demands and expectations of the future. Government needs to provide leadership and certainty by developing a comprehensive and overarching vision for the future of sport, fitness and leisure in New Zealand.

I think it would be fair to say that Government is not perceived to have a clear and widely understood policy framework for the sport, fitness and leisure sector.

So the main job of the Taskforce is to clearly define the vision for the sport, fitness and leisure sector that meet the needs of New Zealanders for the next 25 years.

They will be expected to identify the necessary strategies to encourage and sustain the interest and participation of New Zealanders in sport, fitness and leisure, and in particular for Maori and Pacific Island communities.

This Government has a major focus on closing the social and economic gaps between Maori and Pacific people and other New Zealanders. I see the sport sector as having an important role in that objective.

The review will examine the adequacy of the current sport, fitness and leisure delivery system and identify the issues and constraints impacting on the sport, fitness and leisure sector.

It will look carefully at relationships between club and school sport, physical activity programmes, national organisations, regional sports trusts, the Hillary Commission, the NZ Olympic Committee and the NZ Sports Foundation and other funding agencies

It will look at the role of central, regional and local government in the provision of support services and facilities and the impact of user pays on participation in sport, fitness and leisure activities.

It will look at the impact of the globalisation of sport and the increased commercialism of sport through television and mega events.

It will look at the promotion of trade and tourism through sport, fitness and leisure.

I've brought with me copies of the terms of reference. They are very comprehensive and we have certainly given taskforce members a huge challenge.

But I'm really pleased with the calibre of people who have agreed to serve the taskforce.

It will be headed by John Graham, former Headmaster of Auckland Grammar, former All Black captain and former manager of the NZ Cricket Team.

Other members will be lawyer and mountaineer David Collins; former world squash champion Dame Susan Devoy; New Zealand Recreation Association President Janet MacKay; Black Ferns Captain Farah Palmer - a coaching co-ordinator, and nearly a PhD; Cardiolologist Dr Mark Simmonds, who is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Wellington School of Medicine and a keen all round sportsman; and Glenn Turner former New Zealand Cricket Team Captain and Coach, and former Chief Executive of the Otago Sports Trust.

I hope to have a report back to them by Christmas so that we can start implementing their recommendations as part of next year's Budget round.

I'd like to close by doing a bit of a promotion for one of the items in this year's Budget which you may or may not have heard about.

A new $9 million initiative is to provide aspiring sports stars with access to education scholarships.

The Sport Education Scholarship fund is to enable emerging and talented young New Zealand athletes to pursue tertiary study and elite level sport development concurrently.

It's offering support to our future sporting stars so they can reach their potential in sport while still gaining a solid education to fall back on.

The scholarships will be available from next year to athletes who have the potential to represent New Zealand internationally.

We estimate that at least 100 scholarships will be available from the start of next year. They will average about $10, 000 each and include tertiary fees and a living allowance. We're currently working through the final details and conditions.

I'm sure that many people in this room will appreciate the value that that kind of support will provide and I hope that you will encourage the next generation of students to apply.

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