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Courts condemn 'give-it-a-go' culture

29 August, 2003
Courts condemn 'give-it-a-go' culture

Green MP Mike Ward said the sentencing of 'Le Race' organiser Astrid Andersen would deal another blow to volunteer sports in New Zealand.

Mr Ward, the Green spokesperson for Sport and Leisure and an organiser of the longest running bike race in New Zealand, said that the sentencing would likely compound the fears held by many volunteer sportspeople and organisers.

He held grave doubts for the future of the give-it-a-go attitude to sports following Astrid Andersen's guilty verdict for criminal nuisance, after a cyclist was killed during the 2001 Akaroa to Christchurch race. An excessive sentence would bring with it serious consequences for sport.

"It has clear that this judgement has already affected the outdoor culture of this country," said Mr Ward.

"These events contribute a huge amount to the quality of life and our culture. No other country in the world does it as well as we do but these judgements will seriously undermine this unique feature of New Zealand culture.

"We just can't afford to do it anymore.

"Criminal law has been brought into an area that threatens the volunteer, do-it-yourself, give-it-a-go kiwi culture that we celebrate so much in New Zealand."

Mr Ward said he sympathises with the views expressed by MP Stephen Franks and believed this was an unnecessary intrusion of law into leisure.

"While any death is a tragedy, and my deepest sympathies remain with the families of all who die in sporting events, the fact is that sport in New Zealand is remarkably safe.

"These events have extraordinary safety records, despite involving thousands of people.

"Sadly, the result of the ruling and the sentence handed down today clearly threatens many of these events," said Mr Ward.


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