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Sport NZ spends $4.7 million conducting surveys

The Taxpayers' Union is challenging Sport NZ's $4.7 million dollar spend on surveys since 2018.

In the space of four years, Sport NZ has spent $4.7 million conducting monthly 'Active NZ' surveys interrogating New Zealanders on what kind of physical activity they do, how often, and for how long. The spending figures were provided to the Taxpayers' Union under the Official Information Act.

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The surveys' annual sample size includes about 20,000 New Zealanders from the electoral roll and an additional 5,000 children.

The surveys appear to be growing more expensive each year, with 2021's surveys costing taxpayers $1.25 million, including $12,000 on voucher giveaways to incentivise participants. 

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, "This mammoth ongoing data-mining exercise proves that when you give an obscure agency generous taxpayer funding, they'll find a way to spend it."

"Running a survey with a sample size of 20,000 could occasionally be justified. But when it costs over a million dollars, we have to question why it's being done every year." 

"Even if we accept that Sport NZ has to survey 20,000 people every year, the cost of $50 per participant is eyebrow-raising. At the Taxpayers' Union we manage to run surveys far more cheaply, even when we commission scientific market research companies like Curia."

"Obsessively tracking New Zealanders' participation in yoga, gardening, and tramping may be a fun statistical exercise, but it hardly seems like a priority during a cost of living crisis. We're left wondering if Sport NZ is simply overfunded." 

Data reports from the surveys can be found here.

According to Sport NZ's 2020/21 financial report, the agency received $299 million in funding for the financial year. The agency has 241 employees, of whom 132 are paid salaries greater than $100,000.


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