Budget 2020: Government announces multimillion-dollar investment in sports

The Government will invest heavily in the sport and recreation sector over the next four years, as part of the COVID-19 response. 

Sports and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson confirmed the sector will receive a  $265 million boost from Budget 2020.

The Government will invest $83 million in short-term support to help sport and recreation organisations at all levels get through the initial impact of the coronavirus. 

More money will go towards the medium-term, with $104 million to help the sector rebuild so national and regional sports organisations can make changes in order to operate successfully in the post-pandemic environment. This will include supporting new operating models and more collaboration.

In the long-term, $78 million will go towards innovative approaches to delivering play, active recreation and sport into the future.

Robertson says the sport and recreation sector contributes about $5 billion a year to New Zealand's GDP and employs more than 53,000 people.

"COVID-19 has seen much of the sector's funding dry up and put sports, particularly at a community level, under immense strain. We are providing the support needed to sports at all levels to remain viable, get stronger and adapt.

"We have also seen many of our professional sports and athletes struggle as competitions have been cancelled or suspended. Budget 2020 will provide some assistance, so they can keep competing.

"Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand will work closely with national sport and recreation organisations, as well as the professional teams and clubs to ensure the new funding is allocated fairly and appropriately across the system.

"Sport plays a significant role in bringing our communities together. Our success on the world stage also brings inspiration and pride to our country.

"Across all these areas we will be providing funding to support women's sport and groups who are currently underrepresented in sport like people with disabilities, Māori and those from low socioeconomic groups.

"We want New Zealanders to be able to get back to sport, recreation and play as soon as possible. This funding will get sports from community clubs to elite level athletes back up and running."

The support will be in addition to the $25 million dollar package from Sport New Zealand confirmed last week.