Calls for Surf Life Saving to be government funded

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Sunday, 23 December 2018, 4:28PM
Surf Life Saving CEO Paul Dalton believes $20 million is needed to fund the entire country. (Photo / File)

A National MP believes surf life saving clubs should receive public funding, because they're providing an essential service.

At the moment, surf clubs rely on grants, fundraising and private sponsorship to run patrols on New Zealand beaches.

Some lifeguard services are supported by local bodies, but the clubs take care of themselves.

Helensville MP Chris Penk says life saving should be recognised as an emergency service.

"They perform a vital function of keeping our lives safe, both Kiwis and visitors."

The National Party has launched a petition to recognise life savers as an emergency service.

CEO of Life-Saving NZ Paul Dalton told the Weekend Collective that the petition is interesting, but there are already discussions going on behind the scenes.

"The potential for government funding is very, very much up for discussion."

He says that it would probably cost around $20 million a year to fund the entire country. 

Dalton says that life saving is all driven by passion, with the people involved utterly committed to the work they do. 

"It is a very hand to mouth kind of a game. Every year, you start with a clean slate, and you try to get enough money to do what you need to do."

He says that Penk seems genuine, and probably does not know what is happening already, so doubts he is playing politics.

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