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Where has the Sport New Zealand focus on recreation gone?

Louisa Wall
Sport and Recreation Spokesperson

3 February 2012

Where has the Sport New Zealand focus on recreation gone?

Labour's Sport and Recreation spokesperson Louisa Wall says SPARC’s briefing paper is disappointingly short-sighted.

“Choosing to rebrand as Sport New Zealand communicates the message that the priority focus is extensively on elite and high performing sportspeople to the detriment of other Kiwis who participate in sports and recreation because they love it,” Louisa Wall said.

“Who then becomes the lead agency for recreation? The other players in the sport and recreation area are fractured across education, conservation, fisheries, DHBs and territorial authorities.

“None of these is focused on the relationship between sport and recreation and sustaining and growing the potential pool of world, Olympic and Commonwealth champions,” Louisa Wall said. “The Government needs a dual focus on maximising the talent we have for international sporting success, and continuing to find and develop the stars of tomorrow.

"When I started playing netball at primary and secondary school level it was the more mature players who taught me the most. They didn't want to be a Silver Fern. They loved netball and it was this love for the game that helped me to aspire and represent my country.

“So I think that to dislocate recreation from sport is a big mistake,” Louisa Wall said. “It will diminish responsibility for creating an environment for sport and recreation activities which ensures a greater base of people who are active, and opportunities for them to be active for life.

“If Sport New Zealand is to now have a limited focus my question to the Minister is who is responsible for sustaining and increasing recreational opportunities for New Zealanders?

“We'll never be the most successful sporting nation in the world if the Government chooses to devalue Kiwis giving it a go and engaging in sports and recreational pursuits because they love it. This love for the game is fundamental to success and doesn't just happen.

“You need the right environment to appreciate the hard work that is required to win and I think we had the balance just right with what we had,” Louisa Wall said. “Bring back SPARC.”

ENDS

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