NZ Government Backing for Sport

The New Zealand Government has announced a package of financial majors to relieve the pressure on sport caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In this week’s budget they announced supports to the equivalent of €147 million that will be available across the spectrum of sport from grassroots to the highest levels of the All Blacks.

The first phase of funding is is a NZ$15 million (€8.25 million) community resilience fund which is to be administered through Regional Sports Trusts and will be distributed among local and regional sporting groups based on an application process.

Phase one will also include $6 million (€3.3 million) to assist Sport NZ and Governing Bodies maintain critical business functions, $1 million (€550,000) to help sports not normally in reciept of NZ Sport funding, and $3 million (€1.65 million) into a physical activity fund aimed at those of greater need in terms of disability and social deprivation.

Phase two will include two packages of $83 million (€45.6 million) by way of loans and grants to sporting bodies and $78 million (€43 million) into innovation funding aimed at helping the sector to modernise.

The balance of the funding, $104 million (€57 million) will be available over the more medium-term period of four years to assist in rebuilding and hopefully averting any future blows such as the current one.

The Federation of Irish Sport has called for a similar package of financial supports from Government, though without putting a financial figure on what might be needed.

We wrote last week about the need for sport to press its case for backing alongside other sectors as Government focus turns as much towards emerging from the crisis as dealing with it on a day to day basis.

New Zealand has had only 21 deaths from COVID-19 and only 1,500 infections, marking it as one of the countries to have achieved the greatest success.

The resumption of professional sport will take place shortly with Rugby and Netball both returning albeit without any international competition yet.

The leadership of NZ Sport came to ireland two years ago to speak to the Federation of Irish Sport Annual Conference and the work they have done in terms of backing for sport has influenced our own Government thinking.

It has to be hoped that this respect for what has been done before will carry forward now into the structured financial support that will be needed to keep sport viable, and delivering the good it does at every level.

 

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