INDEPENDENT NEWS

$30 million? Say it ain't so!

Published: Thu 8 May 2003 12:26 AM
$30 million? Say it ain't so!
Green MP Mike Ward said the Government's $30 million pledge to another America's Cup campaign would knock the wind out of many sport organisations in New Zealand.
The Green Sports, Fitness and Leisure spokesperson said the money could be far better spent supporting the many struggling sports associations who have few other choices but to accept funding from pokie 'charities'.
"I'm delighted the Government is prepared to make an generous contribution to sport but there are many sports with their backs against the wall who provide a greater benefit to the community than yachting," said Mr Ward.
"It was difficult enough to swallow $5.6 million to keep Team New Zealand together, which was a hasty decision in the first place.
"But, the suggestion of a dollar for dollar subsidy up to $30 million to fund a cup challenge on the other side of the globe, for which there can only be a limited value to New Zealand, has to be a questionable gamble.
"If the New Zealand business community thinks it's worth a punt, then let them take the risk."
Mr Ward said the money would be warmly received by sports that enjoy far greater levels of participation all over New Zealand.
He urged the Government to make an investment in all New Zealanders, not just those in the sailing community.
"There are any number of investments the Government could make with those kinds of dollars that would give a much surer return," said Mr Ward.
"Type Two diabetes is set to cost the health system $1 billion a year within 20 years unless we change the exercise and eating habits of New Zealanders.
"Thirty million dollars could fund an impressive marketing campaign to improve the quality of Kiwi life, saving many millions of dollar, and preventing a great deal of human misery.
"As for the America's Cup, we've been there and done that and unless the corporate world is prepared to front up with the necessary dollars, it is time to move on and invest our tax dollars where they will benefit all New Zealanders."

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