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Govt backs healthy active NZ with extra funding

Govt backs healthy and active NZ with extra funding

The government is investing more money into building a healthy and active New Zealand with an injection of an extra $30 million for vote sport and recreation, bringing total funding to $220 million for the sector over the next four years.

"This new investment reflects our government's commitment to sport and recreation which play an important role not only in the health of New Zealanders, but also in our confidence and pride as a country," Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) is the government agency charged with the essential goals of getting New Zealand moving, investing in elite sport and building the capability of sport and recreational organisations. In this budget SPARC will receive $214 million over four years.

"Of this, almost $160 million will go to national sports organisations via direct funding and through services provided by the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

"Approximately $13 million will fund SPARC's implementation of the key physical activity initiatives in the Ministry of Health-led Healthy Eating Healthy Action strategy over the next four years. This strategy will be critical as we target the inactive adults and children who need the most help.

"As part of this strategy, SPARC will establish a national early childhood physical activity initiative to promote and coordinate quality physical activities for our youngest kids.

"The strategy is also aimed at improving physical activity opportunities for primary and intermediate aged school students, through the development of best practice resources such as CD Roms, and professional development for teachers."

Budget 2004 will also expand SPARC’s Green Prescription initiative, which involves GPs and practice nurses prescribing physical activity for inactive people with stable medical conditions.

Trevor Mallard also announced an increase of $1 million over the next four years to ensure that New Zealand remains at the forefront of anti-doping efforts.

"New Zealand has been a strong supporter of the development of the World Anti-Doping Code and will lead its implementation."

The New Zealand Sports Drug Agency and SPARC are working to ensure that all of the requirements of the Code are met in time for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"The government takes the issue of doping in sport very seriously. We want to protect the health and welfare of athletes. This means removing the use of potentially dangerous banned substances from sport and ensuring New Zealanders are able to compete in fair and equitable international events."

New Zealand has operated an effective anti-doping regime for a number of years, highlighted by the fact that New Zealander David Howman, the former chairman of the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency, is now running the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"One of the reasons for New Zealand's success in tackling doping in sport is the quality of partnerships between government agencies, the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and national sporting organisations, as well as the overwhelming support of the athletes. We are all united behind the goal of drug free sport," Trevor Mallard said.

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