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Leading sport agency launches innovative strategy

14 June 2002 Media Statement

Leading sport agency launches innovative strategy

The four-year strategy and vision of New Zealand’s exciting new sport agency was launched today by Sport, Fitness and Leisure Minister Trevor Mallard.

SPARC’s, (Sport & Recreation New Zealand), new strategy lays out the inspiring beginning of a framework for the sport and physical recreation sector.

“We are a nation who care and are passionate about sport and recreation. We want people to be proud of their own active, healthy lifestyles and to be proud of sporting achievements as a nation. This strategy outlines plans that will cement our country as a world leader.

SPARC was formed as a result of the Government’s Graham Taskforce, which identified a lack of integration, co-ordination and leadership in the sport and physical recreation sector. It is a merger between the Hillary Commission, the New Zealand Sports Foundation and the policy arm of the Office of Tourism and Sport.

“It’s our aim that by 2006, New Zealand will be recognised as a world leader within the sector. We’ll be an active nation, we’ll have effective sport and recreation systems in place and athletes and teams will perform well in events that matter to New Zealanders.

“A key priority for SPARC will be working to increase the number of people involved in organised sport. It’s important to make sure people stay involved in sport and leisure activities throughout their lives - perhaps from participation, administration, coaching or even being involved as an official.

“An important aspect of SPARC’s job will be its work with a range of other government agencies to improve physical activity outcomes for our country”, Trevor Mallard said.

The Ministry of Education aims to increase young people’s involvement in all aspects of sport and recreation. Work is currently underway to develop a protocol which will enable closer relationships between departments. Further work also includes the development of a primary school pilot programme.

Getting people more fit and active is also a health priority and SPARC is working on a number of new initiatives, including a national campaign to take the Push Play message to the next stage.

Other key initiatives include:
- Funding for national organisations – sport and recreation organisations that demonstrate sound strategy and governance will be able to move to long-term funding contracts.
- Working with priority sports - Netball, Rowing, Golf, Rugby, Yachting, Cricket and Equestrian will be considered priority sports for the next four years, and SPARC will work closely with these sports to help them win at international events, increase participation and build a robust strategy for their futures.
- A revitalisation strategy - SPARC wants to work closely with Cycling, Swimming and Athletics. These sports have huge potential but require a concerted effort to achieve that potential over the next four years.
- New partnerships with local government – to build active communities, workplaces and schools.

“Most of the important benefits that will come from this four-year strategy are less tangible but they have long-term spin offs and over time we’ll see a more dynamic sector develop.

“I feel very excited that the building blocks for SPARC are now in place - this organisation is set to make a real difference,” Trevor Mallard said.

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