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Bill Introduces New Sport Agency

Legislation to create a new recreation and sport agency to achieve the Government’s vision for a healthier and active nation was introduced to Parliament today.

Sport Fitness and Leisure Minister Trevor Mallard said the new agency will replace the Hillary Commission, the sport policy arm of the Office of Tourism and Sport, and be responsible for Government funds currently administered by the Sports Foundation. It is due to come into effect before the end of the year.

"The recommendations from the Ministerial Taskforce into Sport, Fitness and Leisure were wide-ranging," Trevor Mallard said.

"The Government has decided not to respond to that report in a big bang approach, but will use it as a guideline for developing policy in this area. To start that process off the Government has accepted the taskforce's recommendation to merge functions from three separate agencies into one new Crown entity.

"The Recreation and Sport Agency Bill was introduced to Parliament today. That will not necessarily be the name of the new agency. I hope that individuals and organisations that make submissions to the select committee on this bill will also consider an appropriate name. It is also something that the board, when it is established, will consider.

"The new agency will lead the development of physical recreation and sport and provide greater co-ordination within the sector. It will also provide funding for physical recreation and sports programmes and undertake policy work and research on physical recreation and sport in New Zealand.

“This bill creates the agency to promote, encourage and support the taskforce vision for a healthier, more physically active nation.

“But that vision can not be realised overnight. It is a long term vision that will take several years to achieve. We believe it’s an investment well worth making for the future physical well-being of New Zealanders and our identity as a sporting nation,” Trevor Mallard said.

Funding for the new agency will be announced in this week’s Budget. A board to oversee the functions of the new agency will be announced next month.

Recreation and Sport Agency Bill

Government Bill

Explanatory note

General policy statement

This Bill creates a new Crown entity called the Recreation and Sport Agency (the Agency), which will promote, encourage, and support physical recreation and sport as a means of achieving a healthier and more active nation.

In June 2000 the Ministerial Taskforce on Sport, Fitness, and Leisure (the Taskforce) was established and was asked to define a vision for sport, fitness, and leisure in New Zealand for the next 25 years. In January 2001 the Taskforce published its report Getting Set for an Active Nation. The report contains a vision statement and several recommendations.

The vision is to ensure that all New Zealanders recognise the value of, and have access to, an active lifestyle that will lead to a healthier and more socially cohesive nation.

A key recommendation, central to the achievement of the Taskforce's vision, is the creation of a new national agency to lead the development of physical recreation and sport and to provide greater co-ordination within the sector. The Taskforce recommended that the agency also provide funding for physical recreation and sport programmes and undertake policy work and research on physical recreation and sport in New Zealand.

This Bill creates the Agency to achieve this vision. The Agency will perform the functions previously undertaken by the Hillary Commission and the recreation and sport policy role currently carried out by the Office of Tourism and Sport in the Ministry of Economic Development.

The Crown entity form is seen as the most appropriate one for combining the non-government resources and interests of the physical recreation and sport sector with the agency's involvement in areas of public policy such as health and education.

The Agency will be led by an 8-member Board appointed by the Minister, initially from nominations put forward by an advisory group.

The overriding objective of the Agency is to promote, encourage, and support physical recreation and sport as a means of achieving a healthier and more active nation.

The Agency will be clearly independent when making decisions on the allocation of its funds, but at other times it will be required to give effect to Government policy. Ministerial directions to the Crown entity will be required to be in writing and tabled in the House.

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