The Government's $265 million Sport-Recovery-Package is a significant financial promise to sport in New Zealand. While a welcome development, what it is actually used for, how it is accessed and distributed, and who benefits, are still largely unknown.

Treasury has forecast that unemployment may reach 10% in New Zealand by the end of this year. The impact on the income of New Zealand’s 1.5 million households will be primarily felt in areas of discretionary spending, which will include the amount generally available for sporting activities and sport club memberships. Those most significantly impacted will be children from an estimated 150,000 households nationally, who ordinarily will become members of community clubs which are responsible for delivering local sport on a largely voluntary basis.

Australia's "Sport Voucher" (also known as "Active Kids" and "Fair Play") programmes, which provide funding to families experiencing hardship, is a concept we potentially need in New Zealand, right now. While eligibility criteria vary by Australian State, simply expressed, "vouchers" worth $100 (or more) are provided to the families of eligible school-age children, which can be solely used to pay for sport club memberships.

In New Zealand, if we assume (per Treasury's recent forecasts) that around 150.000 New Zealand households may potentially be affected by increased unemployment by year-end, and (on average) that there are two children per New Zealand household, a support programme could cost up to $30 million to implement in its first year. This sum would represent around one-third of the Government's $83 million targeted for in short-term support and go directly to where its needed most. The grass-roots of community sport.


In summary, a "win-win" outcome for eligible families and for the sport clubs which deliver sport for them in their local community. The Association emphasises that community clubs are more than just about providing sport. They are an essential building-block supporting the social and mental well-being of all New Zealanders.

Perhaps its time for New Zealand to step-up to help families-in-need enrol their "Kids in Clubs".