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Industry groups back additional $120 million for sport and recreation in Auckland
Auckland Council’s commitment of an additional $120 million to sport and recreation in its 10-year budget has been welcomed by Aktive - Auckland Sport and Recreation as being a step in the right direction for the one million Aucklanders, adult and children, who are active each week.
The additional Auckland Council investment comprises a $120 million Sport and Recreation Facilities Investment Fund which Aktive says goes some way to address the capital shortfall for sport and recreation of at least $500 million over the next 10 years.
In addition, the benefits of sport and recreation are now recognised in the Auckland Plan 2050 with a new focus area to promote participation in arts, culture, sports and recreation as a major contributor to quality of life, particularly general health and wellbeing.
Aktive Chief Executive Dr Sarah Sandley says the sport and recreation sector worked collaboratively to take its messages to Council and is grateful but cautious about the investment, which it hopes will attract additional funding.
Dr Sandley sated “we are pleased with the acknowledgement and investment, which will help to support the incredible impact and value of sport and recreation on our communities; however, we are mindful that it will only go some way to address the current and forecast shortfall in sport and recreation spaces and facilities in a growing, increasingly diverse Tāmaki Makaurau.
"Auckland Council is the major provider of our city’s sport and recreation facilities, which we value, and we acknowledge the challenge of balancing the various issues impacting Auckland, as well as capital constraints. As a sector, we will continue to work together to attract additional investment which will help realise the significant physical and mental health and wellbeing, social, economic and educational benefits that sport, recreation and physical activity provides for Auckland and Aucklanders."
Aktive research shows the sport and recreation sector contributes at least $1.9 billion to the Auckland economy per annum, provides more than 25,000 jobs for Aucklanders with more than 300,000 volunteers giving 22 million hours of their time free.
In addition, Sport New Zealand’s recently released Value of Sport research notes 92% of participants agree that being active keeps people physically fit and healthy. It also indicates a positive association between children’s physical activity participation and academic achievement.
Dr Sandley adds “the sport and recreation sector is committed to working together to ensure every Council dollar and additional financial support is invested wisely for maximum return in benefits to the community. Aucklanders love to be active so ongoing investment and support for sport and recreation is vital."
The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) has also welcomed aspects Auckland Council’s budget, with Chief Executive Andrew Leslie stating “there are some welcome initiatives for the recreation industry and Aucklanders.
“Consultation on the draft budget revealed a significant shortfall in recreational infrastructure spending, which was not unexpected given the population growth Auckland has faced. So, we are pleased to see the establishment of a $120 million contestable fund for sports and recreation facilities.
“The Transport Investment makes specific reference to cycleways and walkways. Investment in Active Transport achieves the dual symbiotic benefit of easing traffic congestion and making it easier for residents to integrate healthy recreational activities into their day-to-day lives,” he said.
“We also welcome the introduction of the natural environment targeted rate. Kauri Dieback and closures on the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges have had a devastating impact on recreational opportunities. We hope that a healthy proportion of the $311 million raised by the targeted rate will be put towards dealing with the displacement of recreational users.
“The $452 million clean up of waterways and beaches will hopefully reduce the instances of beach closures. Swimming is the 2nd most popular form of Active Recreation among New Zealand Adults. Reliable access to swimming beaches is a big part of Kiwi culture.”
Images: Athletics Auckland (top), Dr Sarah Sandley (middle) and Andrew Leslie (below).
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