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Government wishes New Zealand games team well

Government wishes New Zealand games team well

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Official government representative for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard wished the New Zealand team all the best today as they get ready to take on some of the best in the world.

"The Commonwealth Games has always been a pinnacle event in New Zealand's sports calendar and on behalf of the government I wish the kiwi team every success," Trevor Mallard said.

"Sport plays a big role in our national identity. Through sporting success on the world stage we showcase our dedication to excellence, our desire to fulfil our potential, and our ability to triumph against the odds.

"This government is extremely proud of New Zealand and its people. We want to parade our talents to the rest of the world at every opportunity." Government investment in sport and recreation has increased from $2.644 million in 2001/02 to $44.244 million in 2005/06.

The government, through SPARC, has invested approximately $24.3 million over the past 24 months in the sports that make up the New Zealand team competing at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

The government has also invested in the New Zealand Olympic Committee and directly in athletes competing at the games. Below is an outline of what has been offered to athletes to ensure they have every opportunity to compete against the best in the world:

Medical and Science Services Carded athletes have access to a range of medical and science services such as physiotherapy, nutritional and biomechanical advice through the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

Athlete Career and Education This programme aims to assist athletes to effectively manage their lives in order to achieve sporting excellence. ACE Advisors help carded athletes manage areas such as budgeting, life/work balance, sponsorship advice and education guidance.

Prime Minister's Scholarships Carded athletes can apply for a scholarship which covers their tuition fees up to a maximum of $10,000 per annum so they can achieve tertiary qualifications while pursuing excellence in sport. Of the 228 athletes going to the Commonwealth Games, 62 athletes are receiving a scholarship. Scholarships are also available for the professional development of coaches, officials and support team members.

Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGs) This programme was introduced after the 2004 Athens Olympics. Elite athletes are offered PEGs based on their performance in international competition in order to help cover the costs associated with training, equipment and day-to-day living. PEGs allows athletes to focus more on their sport and less on their finances. Of the 251 athletes going to the Commonwealth Games, 183 are receiving a PEG.

SPARC has offered the remaining athletes a $1000 grant to help them prepare as best they can.

Avenues This recently launched initiative helps match top athletes looking to develop a professional career with employers who can accommodate the rigorous training and competition schedules that athletes face. The first athlete to be placed on the programme is Melbourne Commonwealth Games athlete Jodi Te Huna from the Silver Ferns who has been placed in a role at ACC.

As the government representative at the Commonwealth Games Trevor Mallard will be speaking at the official New Zealand team function, Tuesday 14 March at 6pm.

ENDS

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