Sport NZ has provided a total of $4.6 million to the Wellington Phoenix, the New Zealand Warriors, Super Rugby clubs and the ANZ Premiership netball league and teams, to ease the financial impact of Covid-19.

It is the first release of investment from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced as part of Budget 2020, with this being the only allocation available for release before 1 July.

The latest funding is to provide immediate financial relief to help the clubs and competitions remain viable, and to assist with costs required to get competitions back up and running.

The Wellington Phoenix will receive $950,000 and the Warriors $200,000, while $1.25 million will go to New Zealand Rugby for its five Super Rugby teams and Netball New Zealand will receive $2.2 million to support the running of the ANZ Premiership.

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The Warriors restarted their NRL campaign last weekend while Super Rugby Aotearoa, featuring the five New Zealand franchises, will begin next weekend.

The ANZ Premiership will start on June 19 while the Phoenix are still awaiting a resumption date for the A-League season.

"This investment acknowledges the critical role these professional franchises play in entertaining New Zealanders and uniting communities, as well as inspiring young people and providing important end-to-end pathways for talented sportspeople," said Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin.

"Professional sport franchises do not typically receive government investment, but in the Sport Recovery Package we have an opportunity to provide relief to other organisations who are also critical to our system. We know they have exhausted their financial options and that they make such a valuable contribution to our sector and national and regional economies."

Sport NZ has also engaged with other teams and sports, including the New Zealand Breakers and Auckland Tuatara, but as these teams are currently out of season they have not yet been impacted as significantly as those in season when the COVID-19 crisis hit.

The balance of the first response phase of the $265 million Sport Recovery Package
(approximately $78 million) will be focused primarily on community, regional and national level bodies. This funding will be available from 1 July.

Sport NZ is already providing immediate relief to grassroots sport through its $15 million Community Resilience Fund. Applications for this remain open through the network of 14 regional sports trusts, with $1,000 available for clubs and $40,000 for regional bodies.

"Play, active recreation and sport are key to maintaining individual health and welling, bringing our communities together and keeping these communities strong," said Miskimmin.

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"It is vital that organisations at all levels of our sector remain viable and that's why it is critical we are able to provide immediate financial relief."