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Auckland golf’s future jeopardised after council threatens with land sale

POSTED ON August 4, 2018 @ 12:20 pm

New Zealand Golf has expressed concern over the perceived poor use of council managed green space occupied by golf facilities within Auckland and North Harbour, and has prepared a discussion document based around the Golf Sector Plan for Auckland in response and to advocate for golf’s future in the region.

According to the governing body, NZ press has lately conveyed an unbalanced depiction of some council owned land currently used by golf clubs, with the premise that it would be more beneficial for the land to be sold in order to realise desperately needed cash to reduce council debt and meet targeted annual rates increases.

In response to the unfavourable perception of golf and golf facilities in the area, NZ Golf has recently released a comprehensive discussion paper, outlining the many benefits to be gained through the sport, which the Golf Managers Association of New Zealand has endorsed.

“It is our belief that the messages are not balanced. They put not only golf facilities at risk, but greater Auckland’s communities at risk of losing the very positive benefits golf provides,” said Carl Fenton, Sector Relationship Manager at NZ Golf in a press release earlier this week.

“Of particular concern is the publicity regarding the financial value of the facilities being presented in isolation. The discussion does not provide a fair representation of the true value of golf or golf facilities to Auckland,”

“We are mindful that while this is an Auckland/Harbour centric scenario currently, the outcomes here could create a blueprint for cities across New Zealand.”

The response document highlights Golf NZ’s vision to be an integral part of Auckland’s future, enriching Auckland through golf and to deliver increasingly greater outcomes for the City and its communities.

To add greater clarity to the recent messaging in mainstream media, Golf NZ has based its response around facts from the Golf Sector Plan for Auckland, articulating some of the merits of golf and golf facilities to the Auckland region, including:

  • Golf is a growing sport and is contributing towards the vision of being the world’s most active city.
  • Golf contributes significantly to the health and wellbeing of Aucklanders for all ages
  • Golf enhances social capital and community resilience
  • Golf plays a large and important role in the environmental landscape of Auckland
  • The golf sector contributes significantly to the economy and provides employment opportunities for many Aucklanders
  • Golf tourism is on the rise and major events contribute to Auckland being viewed as a destination for domestic and international visitors

The document also explains New Zealand Golf’s understanding that Auckland is a rapidly growing and highly dynamic city with competing priorities for land use, but that the organisation strongly opposes the sale or part sale of Council owned or managed golf facilities that diminish the value that golf can add to Auckland.

The document is concluded with a plea to council that any further decision regarding the sale of land, or the reduction in golfing footprint for current facilities needs to take the information into account and employ extensive consultation with the golf community.

New Zealand Golf will distribute this information to Councillors, the Mayor, Council staff, local boards, Regional Sport Trusts, sport advocacy groups, media and any other groups of relevance and will be asking all passionate golfers and passionate Aucklanders for support in the matter.

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