An additional $120 million has been allocated to sport and recreation in Auckland Council’s 10-year budget – a step in the right direction for the one million Aucklanders, adult and children, who are active each week, says Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation (Aktive).

The additional Auckland Council investment comprises a $120 million Sport and Recreation Facilities Investment Fund which goes some way to address the capital shortfall for sport and recreation of at least $500 million over the next 10 years, as identified by Aktive.

In addition, the benefits of sport and recreation are now recognised in the Auckland Plan 2050 with a new focus area to promote participation in arts, culture, sports and recreation as a major contributor to quality of life, particularly general health and wellbeing.

Dr Sarah Sandley, Chief Executive Officer, Aktive says the sport and recreation sector worked collaboratively to take its messages to Council and is grateful but cautious about the investment, which it hopes will attract additional funding.

“We are pleased with the acknowledgement and investment, which will help to support the incredible impact and value of sport and recreation on our communities; however, we are mindful that it will only go some way to address the current and forecast shortfall in sport and recreation spaces and facilities in a growing, increasingly diverse Tāmaki Makaurau,” says Dr Sandley.

“Auckland Council is the major provider of our city’s sport and recreation facilities, which we value, and we acknowledge the challenge of balancing the various issues impacting Auckland, as well as capital constraints. As a sector, we will continue to work together to attract additional investment which will help realise the significant physical and mental health and wellbeing, social, economic and educational benefits that sport, recreation and physical activity provides for Auckland and Aucklanders.”

New research shows the sport and recreation sector contributes at least $1.9 billion to the Auckland economy per annum, provides more than 25,000 jobs for Aucklanders with more than 300,000 volunteers giving 22 million hours of their time free.

Recent Sport New Zealand Value of Sport research notes 92% of participants agree that being active keeps people physically fit and healthy. It also indicates a positive association between children’s physical activity participation and academic achievement.

Dr Sandley adds: “The sport and recreation sector is committed to working together to ensure every Council dollar and additional financial support is invested wisely for maximum return in benefits to the community. Aucklanders love to be active so ongoing investment and support for sport and recreation is vital.”

The 10-year budget comes back to the governing body to be formally ratified and comes into effect on July 1.

Together with Sport Auckland, Sport Waitakere, Harbour Sport and CLM Community Sport, Aktive is committed to making Auckland the world’s most active city. For more information, like and share https://www.facebook.com/aklsportmatters/