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Spend On Sportspeople, Not With Gay Abandon

Spend On Sportspeople, Not With Gay Abandon

Friday 19 March 2004

Stephen Franks

ACT New Zealand Sport & Leisure Spokesman Stephen Franks today predicted that Olympic sports - such as swimming, hockey, athletics, rowing, sailing and water polo - would be seething with fury at the latest revelations of the Labour Government's waste of money.

"Splashing out taxpayers' money on overseas trips to study ways of encouraging gay and lesbian Maori and Pacific Islanders into sports is deeply frustrating to traditional sports communities," Mr Franks said.

"Where's the evidence that gays and lesbians are under-represented, including at top level? If they are, can't the gay and lesbian communities fund this themselves? Few have responsibility for children. Why not ask questions over the internet? What's wrong with the phone?

"Sports are desperately short of development money for our best young competitors. But we won't hear from them directly - they won't want to risk antagonising Labour, which has only just abandoned its scheme to take control of pub charity money.

"Our future athletes need international competition, and the cost usually falls on their families - helped by pub and community charity. It costs them, managers and coaches - who are often unpaid volunteers, and good hearted communities - thousands of dollars each year to sponsor our young sportspeople to represent New Zealand.

"How many families cannot cope, forcing talented youngsters out of contention? Surely priority should be given to sportspeople who have already given their time, commitment and sacrifices to make junior and senior New Zealand teams.

"New Zealanders want successful sportspeople. How long will they put up with this nonsense from a Government which pays lip service to sport, instead of helping where it's needed," Mr Franks said.


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