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National fights threat to sports clubs

National fights threat to sports clubs

New Zealand's major sports have united together in an unprecedented way to fight Labour and Green Party plans to change the way gambling machine proceeds are distributed.

National MP Judith Collins addressed the meeting in Auckland yesterday and says secret proposals to centralise the grants system and reduce funding are hugely unpopular.

"This is a massive issue to sports groups and communities throughout New Zealand. The money doesn't just go to "blokey sports" - it goes to children's and women's sports, to cultural groups like local museums, even to volunteer fire-fighters.

"The Responsible Gaming Bill is proposing a more centralised system, giving local or central Government power to allocate money to more politically-correct projects.

"Many sports administrators tell me they are worried about Labour's plans to include the Treaty of Waitangi in local body law, and what this could mean for the grants procedure.

"The sports groups warn that these changes could lead to "Further disintegration of club sport in New Zealand".

"National has been fighting against this Bill at a grassroots level, writing to all sports clubs in the country exposing these plans. The Government is now seeing the depth of feeling amongst the community.

"It seems that money is always available for Helen Clark's pet projects like opera, ballet, the TVNZ charter, and Maori or Treaty programmes. Somehow sport doesn't seem as important," said Ms Collins.

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