The critical role the water safety sector plays in keeping kiwis safe in, on and around the water has been acknowledged in Budget 2020 by Finance Minister, Hon Grant Robertson.
$60.5m has been allocated over the next four years to ensure New Zealand’s frontline rescue services, carried out by Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) and Coastguard New Zealand (CGNZ) are secured.
In addition, Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) has been allocated $2.1m to grow its’ capability to lead and support the wider water safety sector.
“This is a great result for Kiwi’s and future visitors to New Zealand, as well as acknowledgement by Government of the role the sector plays in keeping people safe in, on and around the water”, says WSNZ Chief Executive, Jonty Mills.
Whilst acknowledging the impact of COVID-19, Mills is quick to point out that this outcome is the result of several years’ work between the water safety sector and Government agencies. They have been working together to find the best way to secure the long term sustainability of the sector, after challenges to meet growing demand and expectation were presented.
“Ironically, COVID-19 has brought to light the very risk the sector has been trying to address over several years. That is, the volatile and unsustainable revenue streams the sector relies on to operate, the likes of grants and donations”, says Mills.
In conjunction with core member agencies, WSNZ has led a collaborative approach to Government over the past two years which culminated in the successful budget bid.
With over 110 years of volunteer service to the community, the successful budget outcome creates certainty and sustainability for the surf lifesaving movement, whilst mitigating future risk.
“This is a game changer for the organisation and underpins the sustainability of Surf Life Saving in New Zealand for the foreseeable future”, says Paul Dalton, Chief Executive of SLSNZ.
“It could not have come at a better time with traditional sources of short term, high risk revenues which were already under pressure prior to Covid-19, taking a big hit with the impact of the lockdown”.
Callum Gillespie, Coastguard New Zealand Chief Executive is equally delighted.
“We are grateful for the support given to Coastguard and our water safety partners in the budget. The news is a real boost in a challenging fundraising environment, that will give us greater means to achieve our life-saving mission and to support our 2,000 extraordinary volunteers and staff”, says Gillespie.
Budget funding allocations will take effect from 1st July 2020.
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