The Mayor’s 10 Year Budget acknowledges issues including congestion, housing affordability and water quality; however, there is little detail around investment in physical activity for Aucklanders says Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation (Aktive).

The sport and recreation sector contributes at least $1.76 billion to the Auckland economy, employing more than 17,000 people. There are also 308,880 volunteers who contribute 22.1 million hours per annum. Combined with the significant benefits of physical activity, it is an area Aucklanders are passionate about.

Dr Sarah Sandley, Chief Executive Officer, Aktive says physical activity makes a substantial contribution to the health and wellbeing of all Aucklanders and connects communities; given this, investment is imperative.

“Physical activity is incredibly important to the lives of Aucklanders and comes with significant, well documented social, health and economic benefits – investment is key to this now and in the future,” says Dr Sandley. “We are concerned that there is a real and serious risk of underinvestment in physical activity under the 10 Year Budget.”

“Without this support, our current and future community sport and recreation spaces are in jeopardy. This means our growing, increasingly diverse population won’t have access to suitable infrastructure to participate in physical activity – whether it’s a competitive rugby match, social tennis, school sports events or a friendly game of football.”

Physical inactivity cost New Zealand’s health care system over $200 million in 2013. 32% of New Zealand children are expected to be overweight or obese by 2025, with 21% of 4-year-old children in Auckland already overweight or obese.

Together with Sport Auckland, Sport Waitakere, Harbour Sport and Community Leisure Management (CLM), Aktive is committed to making Auckland the world’s most active city.

Dr Sandley adds: “Whether you’re a player, coach, club member, school, parent or simply enjoy physical activity, it’s important to make our voices heard and get involved in protecting sport and recreation investment in the 10 Year Budget.

“Talk to your Local Board or email LongTermPlan@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz. We’re also sharing our views on social media tagging @aklcouncil and #sportmatters. Aucklanders love physical activity and it’s up to us to have our say.”

The Mayor’s 10 Year Budget Proposal is the start of the consultation process with Aucklanders. Councillors will vote next month on what items are to be consulted on with public consultation in March 2018.