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NZ$8.8 million given to sport and communities in 2012
The New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) has distributed NZ$8.8 million to a wide variety of sports groups and community organisations during the 2012 calendar year - plus NZ$1.5 million to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.
This much-needed funding has helped organisations build infrastructure, run events, provide coaching, kit out teams, purchase equipment and travel to competitions.
NZCT Chief Executive Mike Knell says that without NZCT's help, many of these activities may not have been able to take place, stating "NZCT predominantly funds amateur sports organisations because we recognise how important sport is to our Kiwi culture.
"There are more than 15,000 sport and recreation clubs in New Zealand, with nine out of ten young people taking part in one or more sports or recreational activities each year. We know sport offers fantastic benefits in terms of physical and mental health, social skills, discipline and team building ï¾ the challenge is keeping sport accessible and affordable.
"Many community and sports groups get by on the smell of any oily rag and depend heavily on volunteers to keep them running.
"They struggle to provide the basics, so when it comes to things like coaching or buying new equipment, they need extra help. That's where NZCT comes in.
"New Zealand is one of only a few countries in the world which requires a significant portion of gaming machine proceeds to be returned to the community. Around 40% of funds raised in pub gaming rooms, are returned to good causes. This is very different from casino pokies, which are commercial enterprises. Casinos have no legal obligation to give any funds back to the community "
Knell suggests that it would be extremely difficult to replace gaming trust grants with traditional fund raising methods - like cake stalls and car washes.
Hutt Old Boys Marist Chairman, John Sheehan, agrees, stating that without grant funding from gaming trusts his organisation would "really struggle".
Sheehan adds "there are no alternative funding streams available.
"Opponents to pub pokies need to weigh up the considerable downside risks a reduction of pokie machines would impose on vulnerable members of the community; namely the clubs and societies that provide huge social benefits."
Knell says that pub gaming rooms are strictly controlled environments which are heavily regulated by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. He says gaming rooms are run by responsible publicans and qualified staff who are all trained to identify and offer assistance to anyone they suspect is a problem gambler.
Knell concludes "problem gambling is a serious issue, and we do everything we can to minimise it.
"In 2010/11 the gambling industry paid the Ministry of Health a problem gambling levy of $18.6 million to provide public health and intervention services for problem gamblers. This support, coupled with publicans' strict supervision, means that, as much as possible, we minimise the potential for harm to those people who have gambling addictions.
"It's important to recognise that it is not the environment, nor accessibility that is bad. It is the bad behaviour of a few that is the concern and that is the risk we aim to mitigate."
The New Zealanders' Participation in Gambling, 2010 Health and Lifestyles Survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Health found that just 0.04% of New Zealanders are classified as having a moderate risk of problem gambling.
Last year alone NZCT distributed NZ$38.5 million in grants to sports, community and cultural events and clubs throughout the country. NZCT is the largest funder of amateur sport in New Zealand, and is known as the backbone of amateur sports in New Zealand.
NZCT's full list of grants paid in quarter two, 2012 (January, February and March 2012) can be viewed at www.nzct.org.nz
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