Getting Set For an Active Nation: Report of the Sport, Fitness & Leisure Ministerial Taskforce Research Completed


Getting Set For an Active Nation: Report of the Sport, Fitness & Leisure Ministerial Taskforce

Lead Author

McConnell, R. Prof.


The Ministerial Taskforce on Sport, Fitness and Leisure

Publication Year



Sport, Fitness and Leisure Taskforce



Sport, fitness and leisure are inextricably linked with New Zealand life, our daily routines and overseas perceptions of our nation. Getting Set provides a crossroads for New Zealand recreation and sport. It offers us a pathway to becoming a more active and healthier nation.

Physical activity is the key to making New Zealand a healthier nation, leading to both social and economic benefits. The Taskforce constantly asked the question, “How much does it matter to New Zealanders to save lives and reduce expenditure by supporting physical activity, recreation and sport?”

The Taskforce has used the term “recreation and sport” throughout this report to refer to the three parts of the sector: sport, fitness and leisure. The term recreation is used to mean physical recreation.

Recreation and sport lie at the heart of New Zealand’s identity. The interest of New Zealanders in sport is high, with some 94% saying they are interested and/or involved in sport (CM Research, 2000). Approximately one in ten New Zealanders are involved in sport administration, one in three participate in sport, and more than half of all Kiwis follow media sports coverage. More than 60% believe that New Zealand’s international sporting success is important, with only 17% of the population finding this to be unimportant (CM Research, 2000).

Despite its centrality in New Zealanders’ lives, the proven positive impact of physical activity upon health and economics and the critical role that recreation and sport play in every New Zealand day, the sector has been virtually ignored by successive governments. The public good of recreation and sport must be recognised and used as the basis for a new national commitment to leadership, strategy, structures and funding that reflects the vital role of recreation and sport in New Zealand.

The benefits of sport and fitness are discussed more frequently than the benefits of physical recreation. New Zealand’s outdoor environment is conducive to physical activity, developing physical and emotional wellbeing and personal challenge. Recreation and sport fosters intangible benefits, particularly social cohesion at the family and community level. While less tangible than health and economic gains, these social benefits are no less valid. An example is the sense of national identity New Zealanders get through recreation and sport. This can be seen in the feel-good factor that follows international sporting success.

The evidence for increasing involvement in physical recreation and sport is compelling. Positive physical activity means people will be in better health and reduce health care costs. In turn, better health leads to a more positive society with people more active and able to contribute. Reductions in health expenditure free up funding for other government priorities or reduce overall government spending. As this occurs, the health sector can move to a more proactive stance on community health.

Though recreation and sport have been central to New Zealand society for decades the recreation and sport sector has moved from a volunteer based weekend activity to a commercialised component of the economy. In 1999 the real gross output of this sector was $1.973 billion. The non-commercial expenditure on this sector was $569.261 million

(Business and Economic Research Limited, 2000). This came from central government, lotteries and gaming, as well as local government sources. It is calculated that each day, $4.8 million is contributed to the New Zealand economy by recreation and sport (Hillary Commission, 1998).



The Graham Report, Sport, Recreation, Ministerial Task Force, Government, Funding, New Zealand, Taskforce, Sport, Recreation, Vision, Facilities, Structures

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