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Govt Unfair In Lottery Grant Top Ups

22 August 2002

Govt Unfair In Lottery Grant Top Ups

The Government is topping up arts and recreational funding shortfalls but allowing funding cuts to essential life saving and water safety services around the country, says Richard Worth, MP for Epsom.

Mr Worth, who is trustee of the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Foundation, says coastguard and surf life saving activities and Water Safety New Zealand educational and survival programmes will have to be significantly cut back because of reduced funding from the Lotteries Board.

"Likely cuts of more than 20 percent will have a major impact on the ability of organisations in the water safety sector to respond to life threatening situations.

The reductions signalled last May by lottery funds distribution officials will be published tomorrow. "The Government has since failed to take any action to ensure these shortfalls in grants are made up,” Mr Worth said.

“Prime Minister Helen Clark must justify why her administration said it would make up shortfalls in art and recreational organisations lotteries funding, but not to the water safety sector that deals with life threatening situations.

“Basic essential services are now at risk around the country. It is an indictment of the Labour Party that this is the case, given that on a per capita basis New Zealand's drowning rate is worse than that of Australia, Canada and the U.S.

"The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Tariana Turia, must say how she is going to correct this imbalance. Communities will hope that she, at least, does not regard water safety rescue and education less important than the arts when it comes to funding levels,” Mr Worth said.

Ends

NB: For the 2001/02 year the Royal New Zealand Coastguard received approximately $1.1 million from Lottery General financial allocations; Water Safety New Zealand approximately $1.4 million and Surf Life Saving New Zealand approximately $1.8 million

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