Section 21 of the Integrity Sport and Recreation Act 2023 allows an "organisation" (being "an organisation in the sport and physical recreation sector"), to adopt "the integrity code", with the effect that if it is adopted, the code becomes binding on that organisation. Importantly – (and not well-communicated) – no organisation is compelled by law or regulation to adopt the integrity code, (i.e., adoption is entirely voluntary).

Some national sport organisations (NSOs) are planning to merge the new code into the requirement for their affiliated bodies to rewrite their Constitutions under the Incorporated Societies Act 2022. Incorporated community sport organisations (which are sovereign legal entities in their own right) should approach such top-down mandates with caution and be sure they understand the obligations this places their volunteer officers under, including whether or not they take on additional uninsured legal liability.

(More regulation is not a solution for falling ICSO volunteer numbers)

There is an undisclosed risk that the imposition of further compliance obligations will add to the deterrence effect of increased regulation, further reducing the number of ICSO volunteers nationally. Our national sport community (and our politicians) need to openly engage in more discussion, to avoid further unintended consequences for ICSOs.

The Association notes that under section 20 of the Act, “before making an integrity code, the [Integrity Sport & Recreation] Commission must consult participants, national sporting organisations, national recreation organisations, Māori, other relevant stakeholders (including Pacific peoples, disabled people, children and young people, women and girls, and rainbow people), and the Privacy Commissioner on the proposed code.”

A “national sporting organisation, “means an organisation that represents members involved in a particular type of sporting event or activity in New Zealand”. Under its Constitution, the Association is “a representative of all affiliated natural persons or entities responsible for the organisation, operation, administration and governance of amateur sport in New Zealand, or its dependencies.” The particular type of sporting activity the Association represents is “amateur sport”. We look forward to discussing the draft Code with the Commission.