Disappointment for NZ recreation industry as budget remains static

The New Zealand Recreation Association expressed concern about today’s budget announcement, saying the decision not to spend more on recreation is likely to impact negatively on individuals and communities around the country.

“In a time of budget surplus why are we not spending more on wellbeing?” said NZRA Chief Executive Andrew Leslie. “The population has increased but investment hasn’t. The government should be spending more on creating recreation opportunities to capitalise on the many social and economic benefits recreation provides.”

The Vote Sport and Recreation budget has remained static, which is discouraging given increasing population and upwards cost pressures.

The announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time, Mr Leslie said.

“These are challenging times for people working to provide quality recreation for the benefit of New Zealand. We have a growing, increasingly diverse population. Our lives have become busier, our cities more crowded. More than ever, we need to be identifying and developing opportunities for people’s changing needs.

“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 health and tourism.

“Static government spending means fewer opportunities to build, improve and maintain indoor and outdoor facilities and spaces.”

The budget announced today also has repercussions for people working in the industry, Mr Leslie said.

“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 has made it more challenging to do so.”

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