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Basketball community make impassioned plea for more Sports NZ funding

Some in New Zealand basketball are launching an impassioned plea for more money ahead of the next Government funding announcement for sports code affected by Covid-19, next week.

Harbour, the country's biggest basketball province, delivered a stinging letter on Monday to Sports Minister Grant Robertson.

“Every parent who has a kid playing basketball knows it is becoming, probably the biggest sport in New Zealand,” Harbour Basketball CEO John Hunt said.

They say they want "equitable funding without fear of recrimination", there's an accusation of "systemic bias".

They believe basketball's treatment is, quote "incomprehensible" and if it doesn't change, they want change at the top.

“I've heard from a number of sports that are less then well-funded, than perhaps those that are in favour, that they are afraid to speak up, and if they do speak up about what they perceive to be a lack of funding, that there are veiled threats that their funding maybe cut further,” Hunt said.

Sport NZ refutes claims of bias saying its selection criteria are clear and transparent, it says the other claims do not warrant response.

Basketball recently missed out on a pro sports Covid-19 hand out and received nominal high-performance funding for national teams, due to their world ranking.

“I think Sport NZ and to a degree High Performance Sport New Zealand are living in the past, they are funding a sporting landscape that existed a generation ago,” Hunt said.

Basketball is chasing down netball as the highest participation sport in schools with over 25,000, while there are 80,000 playing the game at all levels nationally.

The sport does receive nearly $600,000 a year from Sport NZ for community participation, the fourth highest beneficiary behind football, netball and rugby league.

Auckland Basketball also recently received emergency club funding.

Another stronghold, Canterbury has launched a petition asking for a bigger slice of the pie.

The Sports Minister responded to question from 1 NEWS via a statement.

Grant Robertson noted, by law, he doesn't have a role in funding decisions but confirms basketball is receiving $3 million from Sport NZ over a four-year cycle.

He expects the sport to receive more funding in the next Covid package announced July 1.