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Recreation Aotearoa welcomes increased funding for sport and physical activity

Recreation Aotearoa welcomes increased funding for sport and physical activity
May 31, 2019

Recreation Aotearoa has applauded the New Zealand Government's new budget  saying the decision to allocate more on sport and recreation is welcome recognition for the role it plays in the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Advising that the body sees the decision to fund school physical activity advisors is money well spent, Recreation Aotearoa Chief Executive Andrew Leslie stated "building the provision of quality physical activity into the school day for our Tamariki is a no-brainer."

Recreation Aotearoa also sees the joint nature of the budget bid, between Sport NZ and the Ministry of Education, as a positive step, with Leslie advising “so many of the country’s problems – mental health issues, obesity – require a joined-up approach across government departments. We hope to see more inter-ministry initiatives of this nature in the future.

“The Living Standards Framework, upon which this budget was built, helps that big picture thinking. Physical activity, be it Active Recreation, Play or Sport, cuts across a swathe of the 12 wellbeing domains and significantly adds to NZ Capital stocks.

“Research shows that in our formative years, active recreation teaches personal responsibility, increases emotional intelligence and results in better academic learning. Then there are the obvious physical and mental health benefits.

“It is great to see some government investment in these proven methods of enhancing wellbeing. In previous years we have been dismayed that increasing participation rates and an increase in population have been met with static funding. Today’s announcement signals that the Government is starting to understand and appreciate the many wellbeing benefits physical activity provides.

“In previous years Vote Sport NZ has remained static, which is discouraging given increasing population and upwards cost pressures."

In the 2018 Active NZ survey, commissioned by Sport NZ it was found that when people who had been physically active in the past seven days were asked how they participated, the top five activities were recreational; such as walking, jogging or playing at a local park. Recreation Aotearoa are hoping that the funding will be allocated to support recreational activities such as these.

Leslie continued “research shows that people who take part in recreation are happier and healthier. There is also clear evidence that a vibrant recreation industry is good for the economy, with clear benefits for areas such as mental health and social connection. Increased government spending means fewer opportunities to build, improve and maintain recreational facilities and spaces."

Recreation Aotearoa also sees the budget as aslso being a positive for people working in the industry, Leslie concluded "a thriving recreation industry relies on the professionalism of its workforce. We need to be investing in these workers, with training and professional development opportunities. Today’s budget decision will hopefully make it easier to do so."

Recreation Aotearoa has identified increased central and local government investment as one of three priorities for the recreation industry. The other two key priorities are higher recognition of the economic and social value of recreation and better development opportunities for recreation workers.

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13th May 2019 - Tauranga’s TECT Park secures Best of Parks Green Flag Award

25th February 2019 - CLM and Recreation Aotearoa agree extension of historic partnership

14th February 2019 - NZRA rebrands as Recreation Aotearoa

15th October 2018 - Sport NZ research confirms physical activity enhances mental wellbeing

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