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PM Launches ANZ Netball Championship 2008

Embargoed until 12.15pm
Thursday 27 March 2008

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Launch of ANZ Championship 2008
Trans Tasman Netball Competition

Britomart Events Centre
Cnr Grove and Tyler Streets

Thursday 27 March 2008

Today is an historic day for netball – the launch of a new Trans Tasman competition : the ANZ Championship.

Over 17 weeks and sixty games of netball, ten outstanding teams from New Zealand and Australia will take to the courts.

This promises to be a world class, fascinating, and enthralling series.

It will set new, high benchmarks for regional netball teams around the world.

For us, it’s a big change from our major New Zealand franchise competitions to a truly Trans Tasman championship.

To launch this new series has taken vision and courage from key people in the netball family.

It’s a bold move - and I believe it’s a good move.

It should generate even greater interest in netball on both sides of the Tasman – and we will get to see fantastic games.

Netball is important to us for so many reasons. It’s a great spectator sport – and it’s a great sport to play.

It involves large numbers of New Zealand women and girls – 125,000 registered with Netball New Zealand, supported by many thousands of coaches, umpires and administrators. Another 80,000 or so play in social competitions.

Being part of netball encourages healthy lifestyles and physical fitness.

It encourages teamwork and co-operation.

And our top netballers are not only fantastic ambassadors for the sport – they are great role models for women and girls.

I believe this new ANZ Championship will grow the game, inspire netballers – young and old – and develop more world-class athletes and coaches.

The broadcasting deal secured for the ANZ Championship is the biggest in netball history, exposing more live games to larger audiences. That provides more opportunity for people to see and understand how netball is played at the top level.

I want to acknowledge the generous support of the ANZ Bank in sponsoring this competition. I’m told that this is the largest sponsorship of any women’s sport anywhere in Australasia. The support of sponsors is critical in launching major sporting initiatives like this.

Good luck to all involved in the ANZ Championship. I wish all the teams the best for a fantastic season, and as one of netball’s large family of fans, I look forward to seeing some great netball in this series.


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