Don't expect free-to-air televised sport any time soon under the Labour-New Zealand First coalition government.

The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Grant Robertson, has spoken to NewstalkZB's Tony Veitch about whether all New Zealanders will get free access to major national sporting events.

The policy is advocated by NZF, but not Labour. The interview will air tomorrow afternoon.

NZF's sport and recreation spokesperson Clayton Mitchell submitted a private member's bill to parliament in March, aimed at amending the Broadcasting Act to make "games of national significance" live and free.


National and Labour voted against the bill, which would have included coverage of international rugby, league, netball, cricket, the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and NRL or Super Rugby finals featuring New Zealand teams.

In January, NZF leader Winston Peters said the policy was crucial because approximately 1.2 million people could not afford Sky Television.

"They're the mothers and fathers who put young kids on sports fields all round this country," Peters said.

"I'm not going to say we're going to try to implement it - we will implement it."

Robertson said there was "more talking to do" but acknowledged the reality that many professional sports were funded through broadcasting rights. Sky and other paying networks would presumably have to be recompensed for any estimated loss in subscriptions.

"The times are changing," Robertson said. "Whether Sky retains the rights [to many sports] is in question in many ways.

"New Zealand First have been strong advocates of free-to-air sport and will continue to be so.

"We haven't made a commitment to go ahead with their policy, but we have made a commitment to keep talking to improve the access of all New Zealanders to watch their sporting heroes."


Robertson, who is also Minister of Finance, suggested other tax-spending priorities would take precedence such as housing, health and education as the new government settles.

He was also asked about the government's progress on Auckland potentially hosting the 2021 America's Cup.

"We're in conversation with the Auckland Council and need to look at the long-term legacies and economic development opportunities while the Cup is hosted here.

"We know from previously hosting the Cup [during the 1999-2008 Labour government's tenure] that both of those things happened."

Robertson said it was one of the first briefings that fell on his desk post-election. He was asked how hosting such an event would help the rest of the country.

"If New Zealand makes significant returns on the investment, the money returns to the coffers and people in [the likes of] Gore get new roads and a decent hospital.

"It's also why ratepayers in Auckland need to be making a contribution."