Elite Kiwi para athletes get funding boost, to receive grants at same level as other athletes

New high performance parity initiatives have been introduced which sees para athletes treated the same as other Kiwi elite sports people.

New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe with her gold medal after winning the Womens 200m Individual Medley SM10 Swimming at the Rio Paralympics. Source: Photosport

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at the Adecco Prime Minister’s Dinner this evening that Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGs) will now be the same value for Paralympians and Olympians.

In the past, said grants for Olympians could be worth up to $20,000 more but Ms Ardern said along with the new parity, a new health insurance plan for all carded athletes will be created to recognise "the hard work and sacrifice that comes with excellence on the world stage is the same for all of our elite athletes".

“It’s only fair that Para athletes will be rewarded for their outstanding achievements in an equitable way."

The agreement will see Paralympic and Olympic medallists supported equally through direct financial grants to enable them to train full time, in order to maximise their international performance.

High Performance Sport New Zealand's chief executive Michael Scott said the announcement pays tribute to the hard-working para athletes in the past.

"Paralympians are an integral part of our high performance system and we need to ensure we recognise their achievements," he said.

Ms Ardern said she is inspired by Paralympic New Zealand’s vision of "excellence and equity through sport".

"I had the privilege of meeting the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics team when they returned to New Zealand.

"Like any high performance athlete you speak to – it was obvious that sport was part of their DNA – Kiwis love to take on the world and win. Of course, with that comes all of the hard work to get to the world stage."