Sport New Zealand was due to announce a new four-year investment plan, but this plan has been deferred in light of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Current funding levels have been guaranteed to stay in place until June 2021.
Grant Robertson, New Zealand Sports Minister, has said that COVID-19 has significantly impacted the country’s sporting industry, at all levels, from grassroots through to international. This has seen important competitions getting cancelled and community facilities being closed down.
He said that national sports organisations have seen significant revenue losses due to the decline in broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and sports betting, so rolling current funding arrangements over will at least provide some measure of certainty for those affected. Under the previous investment round, Netball was one of the biggest winners. It saw an increase of almost NZ$400 000 annually in a jump from NZ$1.5 million to NZ$1.88 million.
Additionally, sports will no longer be obliged to keep initiatives led by Sport New Zealand going, which will allow them to focus on staying operational as best they can. So, implementing changes to making junior sports like Cricket, Football, Hockey, Netball and Rugby less competitive and more inclusive will be held off for now.
Above and beyond the promise of this financial support, Robertson has stated that all business related to sport and recreation can apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. He added that the government is also working on a package dedicated to sports recovery for when the pandemic finally comes to an end.
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