NZ sports offered government life support

Daniel Gilhooly

New Zealand's mangled sports industry will receive a hefty financial lifeline from the government to aid its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

From community sport to the All Blacks, the Kiwi sport sector will be eligible to access the four-year package of $NZ265 million ($A245m) unveiled on Sunday by Sports Minister Grant Robertson.

An initial fund of $83 million will provide short-term support to organisations in a bid to save jobs and keep them afloat.

No sport has been immune to financial strain caused by the training and playing shutdown under strict lockdown, including at New Zealand Rugby.

The country's largest sports body is in the process of making about half of its 180-strong full-time staff redundant while professional players have accepted pay cuts.

The Warriors NRL club last week told parliament its women's team and junior development program were set to fold if they couldn't secure financial support.

Robertson said the sports and recreation sector contributed about $5 billion a year to New Zealand's GDP and employs more than 50,000 people.

Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand would work with all sport bodies to ensure the new funding was allocated "fairly and appropriately across the system".

Robertson made specific mention of women's sport as a target for funding, along with people with disabilities and from low socioeconomic groups.

"We want New Zealanders to be able to get back to sport, recreation and play as soon as possible," Robertson said.

"Sport plays a significant role in bringing our communities together. Our success on the world stage also brings inspiration and pride to our country."