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Minority and grass roots sports miss out

Tony Steel National Sport Spokesperson

14 June 2002

Minority and grass roots sports miss out

The Sport and Recreation New Zealand four-year strategy released today raises questions about minority sports missing out on funding, National Sport Spokesperson Tony Steel said today.

"Sports like rugby, yachting and cricket in particular have the support of millions of dollars of sponsorship from the private sector. The NZRFU made an income of $80.3 million dollars in the 2001-02 year, with a net surplus of $3.41 million. The net surplus forecast for this coming year is $9m, with income rising to $88m.

"Swimming and athletics are sports which are accessible to our youth and where there is great talent in New Zealand, but they are viewed as a lower priority. New Zealand also has world champions in minority sports, such as multisport and triathlon, which don't make the funding pool.

"I am also disappointed that the Community Sports Fund is being ended. This was an effective way of funding sport at grass root levels. Most of New Zealand's top sports people come from small communities. If New Zealand doesn't support grass roots sport in communities sports will die.

"Trevor Mallard's credibility is seriously at stake. His comment that the Ministry of Education aims to increase young people's involvement in sport and recreation is laughable when his hapless handling of the teachers' dispute is the very reason thousands of students can't go to sports practice and play sport this weekend.

"There is also scope to expand the Kiwi Baby, Kiwi Toddler , Kiwi Pre-school programme started by Waikato Sport so that all regional sports trust are able to provide the programme. This programme introduces the value and fun of exercise to youngsters right from the start which leads to healthy lifestyle and the benefits of this," Mr Steel said.

Ends

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