Division over push to rename Basin Reserve 'Support Women's Sport Basin Reserve'

Plans to rename Wellington's Basin Reserve to 'Support Women's Sport Basin Reserve' have been called "dumb" and "naff".

On Wednesday, the initiative was announced, with a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 for two years of naming rights of the Basin Reserve.

It has the support of Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and City Councillor Fleur Fitzsimmons, who see it as a way of encouraging support for female athletes.

"I look forward to the day when our daughters can achieve the same level of personal and financial success in their chosen sport as our sons," Lester said.

"The initiative to raise awareness for women’s sport is simply brilliant and one we should all support."

But The AM Show's Mark Richardson and Amanda Gillies don't believe in the scheme.

Richardson prefaced his opinion by noting he was fully in support of seeing women's sport develop, but didn't believe changing the reserve's name would achieve anything. 

"I am fully in support of the development and the continued push for womens' sport," he said on Thursday. "I have a daughter who wants to be a professional athlete and I want that playing field available to her. 

"I want there to be support, so they can further their product and create a product that is as equally as watchable as mens' sport, so they will draw the audience.

"But my point is this, in support of those ideals, don't do things like this. They just make people roll their eyes and don't actually, I think, help the cause."

Richardson said he understood the "thinking behind it", but ultimately "it's just dumb… it's naff. It's unnecessary".

Gillies agreed, saying a sign shouldn't be needed for people to support women.

"I am a woman and obviously play sport," she said. "Love sport, support all women in sport, but I do think with this one, I do tend to agree with you.

"I think it is a little bit naff. It makes you feel like you are a little bit special almost.

"Just get in behind the women, you don't need a sign like that."

But The AM Show's host this week, Ryan Bridge, doesn't agree. He says, as it's a private fundraising effort, those who don't want to contribute shouldn't be too concerned. 

"They are not asking for any of my money, they are not asking for any of your money," he said. "There is no taxpayer money, there is no ratepayer money.

"It's just a private fundraising campaign to change the name of the Basin Reserve.

"If they were asking for our money, I would have a problem with it, but no-one is asking for our money."


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