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Labour backs New Zealand in sport

9 September 2005

Labour backs New Zealand in sport

Labour will continue to back New Zealand in sport and recreation through significant increased funding plus a new initiative to give financial support to sports specialists who work with our top athletes, Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

"New Zealanders quite rightly are proud of our sportspeople's achievements on the international arena. As a government, Labour is committed to giving ongoing backing for sport and recreation, as we work to get kiwi's more active, and support our athletes," Trevor Mallard said.

"Government funding has increased from $2.5 million in 1999 to just over $50 million this year, and will increase to $60 million in 2008-09 if Labour is re-elected.

"All this funding is under threat, like all social spending, if National were to be elected. It needs to cut $3.5 billion in spending, on top of the $3.5 billion it has to borrow to pay for tax cuts that are worth less than $10 per week for two thirds of taxpayers.

"But Labour is committed to our sportspeople and our investment in sport will provide increased ongoing funding for communities and schools and pre-school programmes, for elite sport, for volunteers and regional sport development.

"We also intend to introduce a new Prime Minister’s Scholarship initiative for the specialists who support our high performance athletes. Worth $2.7 million over four years, these scholarships will support the sport scientists, technicians, medics and athlete education providers who are undertaking or planning to undertake specialist skills development. They will be available from early 2006.

"In the past 12 to 18 months New Zealand's international sports results have been impressive - especially in cycling, swimming and most recently rowing. This success is no coincidence and is at least in part due to the government increasing funding, from $2.5 million in 1999 to around $50 million in 2005.

" Anything we can do to encourage our elite athletes to stay on gives New Zealand more chance of success on the world stage - and that is important as we lead up to the next major world competitions, "Trevor Mallard said.

Labour's sport and recreation policy and fact sheet is attached.

ENDS

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