Sport funding boss skirts hockey dejection

SIMON PLUMB IN LONDON
Last updated 05:00 14/08/2012
Phil Burrows
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME: Black Sticks striker Phil Burrows gets a rub on the head from Belguim goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch during their group match at the London Olympics.

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Sport New Zealand boss Peter Miskimmin will not have a say on funding for the under-performing national men's hockey team due to a conflict of interest.

Miskimmin, 53, confirmed that as one of three national selectors he would not be part of a review to determine how much government funding the men's Black Sticks are entitled to after a poor Olympic campaign.

Targeting a top-four finish, the Black Sticks were ninth at London 2012, two places beneath their world ranking, and Shane McLeod has also said he is walking away from the coaching job.

Funding for the women's team was slashed four years ago after a lowly Olympic Games in Beijing, and now the men's team finds itself in a similar position. But Miskimmin, chief executive of the Crown's sport entity, said he would have no input.

“I'm very clear. In the four years of being in Sport New Zealand I've never made a decision on hockey,” Miskimmin said.

“I think there are always conflicts in New Zealand, given the size we are, and I don't get involved in any of those conversations whatsoever.

“It happens with other people from time to time but being involved in a sport also adds to my understanding and knowledge as chief executive. It cuts both ways."

Since 2009, New Zealand's elite men's and women's hockey programmes have been given $7,144,571 in public money.

Funding in 2012 went up $1.52 million from the previous year.

When a funding decision might be made for next year is unclear, with Miskimmin unable to be any more specific than “before Christmas”. “It's really hard to say that because of two things. One is that national sport organisations have to debrief and figure out how well their campaign went. The other is what do the next four years look like heading into Rio,” he said.

“We're not going to make any decisions or comments on investment until after we've been through the review process.

“The only comment I can make is that everyone went in with expectations. Some have met them, some have fallen slightly short of them. Some have exceeded them.

“The balance of all of that, and also their potential going forward, will determine what the investment is going to be.

“I think it's a bit premature at the moment to say yes or no, up or down.

“It's a balancing act of having a pool of money and distributing that as best we possibly can.

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"We're going to have to make some intelligent decisions, like we did four years ago, and maybe some tough ones.

“We will definitely know before Christmas but we want to make sure we don't rush this process,” Miskimmin said.

- Fairfax Media

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