A shortage of playing fields and courts in Auckland is putting community sport at risk and needs addressing by central and local government, says National MP Nikki Kaye.

The former Minister of Education and Auckland Central MP is calling for better shared facilities between schools and Auckland Council to address growing demand for field time.

Auckland Sport and Recreation (Aktive) says the city is facing a shortage of nearly 200 indoor courts, netball courts, outdoor tennis courts and artificial turfs for winter sports in the medium term.

Netball is very open to locating netball courts on school land.

The council's draft 10-year budget contains a $500 million capital shortfall for sport and recreation, says Aktive chief executive Dr Sarah Sandley.


Even with an increase in funding in the budget, Sandley said, council has said there will be a drop in service levels, deteriorating assets, risk of failure and asset closures.

Kaye said attempts at shared facilities in the past had been patchy and as minister she had asked the Ministry of Education to look at how things could be improved.

"It needs a bit of work between government and council at what facilities already exist and where are opportunities for these partnerships," said Kaye, who acknowledged the complexities involved and the need for different arrangements.

Several schools across Auckland have opened their sports facilities to the community. The Joyce Fisher Sports Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar has netball, tennis and other sports facilities; and King's School in Remuera has a swim school.

Netball action at the Auckland Netball Centre, St Johns.
Netball action at the Auckland Netball Centre, St Johns.

Community facilities have also teamed up with council at Papatoetoe and Kohimarama to provide sports facilities to the public.

Kaye said the Ministry of Education was working on an Auckland growth plan that included mapping showing where classrooms need to be and hoped recreational and sporting facilities would be factored in.

"You have got a multiple range of opportunities here. The timing is right to try and look out over 20 to 30 years," Kaye said.

Netball Northern chief executive Nicole Spratt said there are 12 netball centres and three satellite sites in Auckland, attracting 60 per cent of school girls to the sport and 8.5 per cent of adult women.


The Auckland Regional Netball Facilities Plan between Netball NZ and Auckland Council had identified the need for 73 new courts by 2031 to meet demand and population growth, she said.

"Netball is very open to locating netball courts on school land to fulfil demand provided the sport is involved from the outset and that the operational set-up is considered at the beginning," Spratt said.

Auckland Council has recently supported upgraded netball courts at Avondale College and Netball Waitakere is working with the school to deliver netball opportunities for the local community outside of school hours, she said.

The council and Aktive are working on an Indoor Courts Facility Plan in conjunction with the sports of netball, volleyball, badminton, basketball, table tennis and futsal.

The plan will set out how many new courts are needed and where they should be built.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said there is no record of Kaye requesting the ministry to work on this proposal.

"However, the Ministry of Education has long favoured the sharing of facilities between schools and communities, a view that I share.

"The Ministry has been part of the Community & School Partnerships Project, an Auckland initiative that also involves Sport NZ, Aktive, and the Auckland Council. This project has highlighted the need to look for more community sharing opportunities," Hipkins said.

He said the project surveyed all secondary schools in Auckland in 2017, which showed that 76 per cent of schools make their sports facilities available for community use in some way.

Sandley said research showed the sport and recreation sector contributes at least $1.9 billion to the Auckland economy a year, provides more than 25,000 jobs with more than 300,000 volunteers giving 22 million hours of their time free.