Increased investment one of key priorities for recreation
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2015
Increased investment one of three key priorities for recreation industry
Central and local government planners must consider the long term benefits of recreation investment, particularly the economic and social value it provides, says the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA).
Increasing recognition of the economic and social value of recreation and growing central and local government investment in recreation are two priorities identified in the Recreation Manifesto 2015-16, released by NZRA today. Increasing development opportunities for recreation workers rounds out the three key priorities for the industry.
NZRA Chief Executive Andrew Leslie said rather than considering recreation as a ‘nice to have’, local and central government should consider it as an investment in healthy people, connected communities and a way to boost local tourism.
“We need to change the way decision makers think. Investment in recreational infrastructure, such as walkways, swimming pools and cycle tracks, boosts regional economies by fostering increased tourism and contributes to more vibrant and attractive cities.
“Dollars spent on recreation create opportunities for people to live active lifestyles, contributing to better physical and mental health and reducing the prevalence of depression and lifestyle diseases such as obesity and type two diabetes.
“Recreation can also bring communities together, helping newcomers to integrate and creating communities that are more resilient in the face of disaster,” Mr Leslie said.
According to Sport New Zealand’s Active NZ 2013/14 survey, recreation continues to play an important part in the lives of Kiwis. Close to three quarters of adults (74 per cent) take part each week and around 65.6 per cent of adults are interested in trying a new recreation activity or doing more of an existing one.
“Given New Zealand’s changing demographics and aging population it is vital there is increased investment in recreation to provide facilities and activities that will cater for a wide range of ethnic, cultural and age groups both now and into the future,” he said.
The Recreation Manifesto has been sent to relevant Government Ministers and all New Zealand mayors. Its three key priorities are also available in an easily accessible online format at thinkingrecreation.org.nz.