MEDIA RELEASE: Recreation Aotearoa welcomes increased budget for Sport NZ

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

"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." said CEO Andrew Leslie.

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

"The Living Standards Framework, upon which this budget was built, helps Treasury to understand how critical investment in Active Recreation and Sport is. Active Recreation cuts across a swathe of the 12 wellbeing domains and significantly adds to NZ Capital stocks," he said.

In the 2017 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.

"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," he said.

The budget announced today is also positive for people working in the industry.

"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," he explained.

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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