Backing bar makes no sense - Paddon

JACOB PAGE
Last updated 05:00 22/12/2012

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New Zealand World Rally Championship (WRC) driver Hayden Paddon believes Sport New Zealand's reluctance to fund motorsport at the highest level "makes no sense".

Paddon, 25, said he and fellow international drivers work hard to promote New Zealand to a global audience and deserve financial support.

He is back in Timaru after completing his second season in the WRC in its Super World Rally Championship sub-class.

Paddon said his team approached Sport New Zealand six months ago about getting a possible cash injection from the government-funded agency formerly known as Sparc, but nothing came of it.

In yesterday's Herald, a Sport New Zealand spokesperson said the organisation did not fund motorsport at a high performance level due to a number of reasons including its commercial and sponsorship-oriented nature.

Paddon, who races under the name of New Zealand World Rally team, said he was baffled. "All due respect to those individual athletes who did get funded but motorsport is one of the biggest sports in New Zealand.

"What we have achieved (as motorsport athletes) overseas is massive and what we give to New Zealand as a country with marketing it overseas is huge and we get absolutely nothing out of the Government for what we do. I think it's unfair, to be honest."

Paddon understood he was not the only New Zealander competing globally in motorsport, but believed there must be a fair way to get some money for the top level performers.

"There should be some provision where we can all get some support because we are promoting the country.

"We're not just doing our sport justice but we're promoting (New Zealand) as a destination and trying to get more people here.

"We can't be eligible for any funding from pokie machines or anything like that, so the only funding we can get is from sponsorship money and we all know what sponsorship money is like, it's getting tougher and tougher (to get)."

Paddon needs to raise $1 million by mid-March to have another season in the WRC in 2013, but he said every little bit would help.

"Those athletes getting $100,000 or $200,000, that amount could do a lot for us."

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- The Timaru Herald

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