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Giving sport one million but taking 50

Tony Steel National Sport, Fitness and Leisure Spokesperson

3 October 2001

Giving sport one million but taking 50

While the Government's elite coaching scholarships may be good for a select few, the announcement does nothing for grassroots sports clubs still licking their wounds after news of a proposed higher tax, National's Sport, Fitness and Leisure spokesperson Tony Steel said today.

In Parliament today Mr Steel asked Sports Minister Trevor Mallard if he is concerned with the Government's plans to erode sport at its grassroots level by reducing the amount of gaming revenue available to the 1.3 million New Zealanders involved in sport.

"You have to ask whether the new coaching initiative is a bribe to New Zealand's sporting community given that only a week ago National revealed a secret Government proposal for a high tax rate on the pokie machines which contribute $150 million a year to local sports clubs and charities.

"Sports clubs are seething at the thought of losing millions of dollars in community sponsorship through this Government tax grab. What's more, Government papers indicate that this 'community purposes tax' will be distributed on a centralised basis to Government pets projects, leaving many local sports clubs out of the loop.

"This afternoon in Question Time Mr Mallard unsuccessfully tried to side-step the issue of the Government spinning some good news to elite sports while at the same time drawing up plans to take $50 million away from community sport and other organisations.

"No one would begrudge our elite coaches a scholarships programme, but let's not lose sight of Government moves to make our sports clubs a lot poorer," Mr Steel said.

Ends

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