New Zealand Sports - investment plan for high performance success

Tom Ashley (centre) receives his Olympic medal in Qingdao

New Zealand's Sports and Recreation Commision (SPARC) has just announced the funding programme for NZ Olympic sports leading through to the 2012 Olympics in London.

In world terms, this is sports funding on a shoestring. For Yachting, who have performed particularly well on the international stage, the funding would appear to be static or a reduction on previous levels - when changes in exchange rates over the previous period are taken into account.

Two other sports, which have yielded some Olympic medals, Rowing and Cycling, have received substantial increases on previous funding levels. Cycling is also a Commonwealth Games sport while Rowing delivered a higher medal count at the 2008 Olympics.

It is not known what medal counts have been attached to the funding for each sport. Typically a medal quota is prescribed for each sport. New Zealand's medal quota for 2008 was believed to be two medals, while Australia and Great Britain were on three. The British Sailing funding from UK Sport for their Olympic Sailing is $65.5million, for a 'home' Olympics.

For the record here is the Kiwi medal results from the Beijing Olympics


* Caroline Evers-Swindell, Georgina Evers-Swindell, rowing, women's double sculls
* Tom Ashley, sailing, men's RS:X - windsurfer
* Valerie Vili, athletics, women's shot put


* Hayden Roulston, cycling, men's individual pursuit


* Bevan Docherty, men's triathlon
* George Bridgewater, Nathan Twaddle, rowing, men's pair
* Mahe Drysdale, rowing, men's single sculls
* Nicholas Willis, athletics, men's 1500m
* Sam Bewley, Westley Gough, Hayden Roulston, Marc Ryan, cycling, men's team pursuit

New Zealand won a total of 3 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

The level of funding for triathlon is a little surprising given that there are only two medals available compared to 10 events available for yachting and 15 for rowing.

There has been no comment from Yachting New Zealand at this stage.

The official release from SPARC reads as follows:

SPARC has announced the four year 2009-2012 high performance investment programme for targeted sports geared to get New Zealand athletes on the podium at London 2012.

SPARC High Performance Manager Martin Toomey says the investment decisions support the goal of more New Zealanders winning on the world stage.

'Priority has been given to sports with the greatest chance of success. We have had to be uncompromising in applying criteria based on past performance and the likelihood of future success.

'It is encouraging to see national sports organisations have across the board significantly improved their planning and sharpened their focus on raising standards for elite athletes.

'This investment supports SPARC’s High Performance strategy aimed at creating depth rather than breadth at the elite level. This approach paid off in Beijing and I firmly believe it will produce results in London,' Toomey said.

Under the High Performance Strategy 2006-2012 New Zealand is targeting at least 10 medals for the London Olympics.

The funding levels are locked in for the next two years, after which a mid-term review against the various high performance plans will be conducted. Funding levels will be maintained for the following two years though to 2012 if targets are being met.

Toomey says while it is encouraging that investment levels are higher than they were in the last Olympic cycle, there are pressures on the national sports organisations such as falling exchange rates and increasing costs of competing overseas.

The table below outlines the 2009 investment levels and the totals for the 2009-2012 periods (subject to investment levels remaining the same following the 2010 mid-term review). The 2008 and 2005-2008 investment levels are included for comparison purposes.


2008 Investment

2009 Investment

Total 2005 – 2008 Investment

Total 2009-2012 budgeted Investment*


$1.15 m

$1.3 m

$3.5 m

$5.2 m


$2.2 m

$3.0 m

$8.1 m

$12.0 m


$2.2 m

$3.0 m

$8.4 m

$12.0 m


$1.4 m

$1.35 m

$5.3 m

$5.4 m


$1.15 m

$1.2 m

$3.9 m

$4.8 m


$1.98 m

$2.15 m

$6.7 m

$8.6 m

*Investment total subject to 2010 review process.

The targeted investment is part of an overall high performance investment programme of approximately $35 million per annum. Other components of the investment programme include; high performance funding to other national sports organisation under the contestable investment process ($4.8 m) – announced in December 2008; performance enhancement grants direct to athletes and coaches ($5.5 m); Prime Ministers sports scholarship programme ($4.25 m) – announced January 2009; high performance support e.g. technology, research, innovation, talent transfer ($2 m) and New Zealand Academy of Sport athlete and coach support programme ($ 5.7m).