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Greens want Govt to maintain water safety funding

Greens call for Govt to maintain water safety funding

Green Sports Spokesperson Mike Ward today supported calls from Water Safety New Zealand for Government to step in and make up for a $1.5 million funding cut for water safety services.

Reductions in the money received by the Lotteries Grants Board has in turn led to a $1.5 million cut in funding for Water Safety New Zealand, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation.

"As an athlete who spends a great deal of time either on or near the water I am acutely aware of the importance of these groups. They save many lives every year and it is essential that they do not have to downgrade their services because of cuts to funding," said Mr Ward.

"I think there is a real role here for Government to acknowledge the crucial role of these groups and to step in and make up the funding shortfall so current levels of service can be maintained."

Mr Ward said these cuts will almost certainly result in substantial loss of life and property, and additional costs of hospitalisation and rescue services, much of this at a direct cost to Government.

"The failure to stump up with the $1.5 would have to be seen as false economy."

Mr Ward said he would be writing to relevant Government Ministers asking them to consider meeting the $1.5 million shortfall.

"Our surf lifesavers and our coastguards are the heroes of our beaches and the equation is simple - more people will drown if they are unable to maintain their current levels of service.

"The Greens do not want to see this happen and we are confident the Government does not either."

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