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Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) is looking to broaden the reach of Water Skills for Life and fund research to fill knowledge gaps on New Zealand’s drowning problem.

WSNZ’s Investment Programme is now open to applications and the priorities for 2018/19 are:

  • The ongoing implementation of Water Skills for Life (WSFL) for 5 to 13 year olds including greater national coverage.
  • The establishment of a separate, ring-fenced, competitive research fund for water safety sector researchers.

CEO Jonty Mills is excited about establishing strong drowning prevention partnerships that meet the objectives of the Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020.

“Getting as many young New Zealanders as possible learning fundamental water safety skills is critical to bringing down our drowning toll. We also need new insights into how we can keep New Zealander’s safe in, on and around our waterways” says Mills.

The 2018/19 Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) Investment Prospectus differs from previous years in that it contains details on two separate funds:

  1. The Drowning Prevention Fund which supports projects that deliver drowning prevention interventions that make a difference to New Zealand’s drowning toll; and
  2. The Water Safety Research Fund which supports research projects that make a contribution to meeting the water safety sector’s unmet knowledge needs.

Water safety continues to be a critical issue for New Zealand society with drowning the number one cause of recreational death and the third highest cause of accidental death. In 2017 there were 88 preventable drowning fatalities and drowning related hospitalisations have been increasing year on year for over a decade. Over that period the cost of drowning deaths and injuries to New Zealand is almost $5 billion.

“There is also the massive personal and social cost to families and communities” says Jonty Mills.

In 2017/18 $1,664,260 was available for distribution by WSNZ - a 8.4% increase primarily due to a $400,000 increase in New Zealand Lotteries Grant Board funding.

Applications are due by 21 May 2018. To view the prospectus click here                 

For media enquiries call Ben Christie on 021770285


Jonty Mills – CEO

Jonty joined Water Safety New Zealand in 2016. Previously he had spent more than 20 years in communications and external affairs leadership, operations and business development roles. He brings expertise in stakeholder management to CEO and ministerial level, with a blend of private and public sector experience.   A long-standing member of BP's Senior Leadership team and media spokesperson Jonty has a background of leadership roles in marketing, operations and business development across commercial and retail business channels.  During his time at BP, he was responsible for managing the company’s community partnerships – including Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Young Enterprise Trust and Royal Society of New Zealand – and has experience in advocacy as the interface between BP and central and local Government. He also helped embed safety as the number one priority and value across the organisation and is a strong advocate for Water Safety New Zealand’s core values and strategic direction.   027 478 1836 

Annual Funding Round Open for Water Safety Education and Research

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