In among the pandemic, whole countries burning, the race to the White House, murder hornets and baking sourdough you may have heard there's an election on here as well! October 17 is Election Day and while the news focuses on the very important areas like Finance, Health, and Education, Government has an important role to play when it comes to Swimming as well!
They fund school swimming programs, water safety initiatives and the quality of water kiwis grow up in so we wanted to find out directly what the main parties had to say in these areas.
We approached Labour, National, ACT, New Zealand First, The Greens and the Maori party to ask their policy points specifically on Learn to Swim in schools and open water quality. Not all of them responded but we wanted to make clear we gave them the opportunity.
We did not approach Vision, New Conservatives or Advance New Zealand because we did not want to give a voice to any position that would put New Zealanders in harms way - both physically or emotionally and these groups have policies which will result in those outcomes.
The Labour Party has promised to work on "Delivering the strongest ever protections to clean up our waterways to ensure Kiwis can safely swim in their local rivers and lakes, create jobs and help New Zealand’s agriculture export and tourism offerings."
In regards to water safety Labour has also promised "Boosted funding for the water safety sector to meet increased demand, including Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Coastguard New Zealand, and Water Safety NZ"
“New Zealand is a proud sporting nation. Our top teams and athletes punch above their weight on the world stage and our grassroots sport remains strong compared to other nations. However, a decline in overall youth participation in sport has emerged in recent times. New Zealand has a concerning rate of obesity among both our young and adult populations. Physical activity, such as swimming, is one way people can safeguard themselves against health risks associated with inactivity.
COVID-19 poses an extra challenge to engaging in sports such as swimming. Lockdowns mean that children do not have access to local swimming pools or organised lessons. COVID-19 has also resulted in financial stress for swimming teachers, swim schools and employees at our local pools.
Ensuring New Zealander’s have the opportunity to be physically active is now more important than ever. National will make the necessary investments to enable sport and recreation opportunities to be available to everyone. It is important that all children have access to swimming facilities from a young age to encourage and build their water safety skills, especially given that we are an island nation.
National are currently exploring ways in which we can make sport and recreation facilities, including community pools, more accessible. For many schools in New Zealand, it is both difficult and costly for them to access swimming facilities and promote water safety lessons.
National recognise that cost is a significant barrier to many families and children participating in swimming and vital water safety lessons. Closer to the election, National will be releasing policy to help families overcome this barrier so that children can participate in learn to swim programs, or other sporting ventures of their choice.
Earlier this year, National tabled a Members Bill under the title Life Jackets for Children and Young Persons Bill. This Bill amends rules 91.2 to 91.4 of the Maritime Rules to provide that recreational craft of 6 metres or less cannot be used unless every person on board who is under the age of 15 years wears a life jacket. As a coastal nation, who loves boating and water sports, it is vital that we have sound water safety measures to protect our children. National strongly supports New Zealand’s frontline rescue services, Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) and Coastguard New Zealand (CGNZ).”
Hon Mark Mitchell
National Spokesperson for Sport and Recreation
Currently our policies are awaiting announcement so please keep a eye on our social media and website.
In the past New Zealand First has called for specific funding to be supplied to schools for water safety lessons. Furthermore while in opposition New Zealand First called for the then National government to make sure that children would get adequate swimming lessons.
Please keep a eye on our social media and website for our policies.
NZ First Correspondence
- Central and local government should encourage flexible pricing for swimming pools and other recreation facilities e.g. lower prices during off-peak hours.
- Swimming lessons other activities that promote safety should be supported.
- Watersports activities should minimise harm to aquatic animals and environments.
- Government should promote women’s recreational and sporting opportunities through equal access, funding, and publicity. Extra spending may be required to bring women’s recreation and sport up to the same standard as men’s.
ACT will require councils to commit to short and long-term water quality objectives, and to plan and budget to renew and upgrade aging and failing water and wastewater infrastructure.
Improving water quality in rural communities is a vital step to restoring the biodiversity that makes New Zealand unique. Biodiversity in fresh water, plants and insects is the life support that underpins our rural economy, and our health and wellbeing as a nation.
The RMA and new freshwater rules are being used as a blunt tool to force farmers and landowners to abandon their farm environmental plans. These plans are agreed with regional councils and are based on local rivers and soil science. Farmers are instead being forced to submit to a government plan which sidelines the wishes of local communities and the businesses which produce our food and our wealth.
ACT do not currently have policy available on School swimming or sports funding.
The Māori Party will;
1. Establish and fund a National Māori Sporting body, targeting Māori sporting codes and sports with high Māori participation
2. Establish a $100M Whānau Pakari fund for 3-years to invest into Māori sporting codes
a. Funding Māori sporting academies that incorporate Whānau Pakari principles
b. Funding scholarships to ensure that barriers for Māori are eliminated and to allow their potential to shine
c. Funding iwi & hapū Pā Wars events
d. Upskilling volunteers and coaches in sporting codes with high Māori participation
3. Ensure that funds go directly to the regional Māori sporting codes for Māori, by Māori and not via regional sporting bodies
4. Ensure sporting codes with high Māori participation have Māori governing boards, allowing them to individually compete at world cup events as Aotearoa Māori
5. Provide a Māori Sports mentoring programme; delivering tertiary education opportunities & career pathways for life beyond the sporting field