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Strengthening the system

There have been significant developments in the integrity landscape in the past few years. Implementing the recommendations of the 2018 Sport Integrity Review led to a number of integrity improvements in the Sport and Recreation sector. These include the establishment of the independent Sport and Recreation Complaints Mediation Service (SRCMS) in February 2021 as well as the development and implementation of a range of Sport NZ initiatives to strengthen integrity, such as the integrity guidance portal. 

Three people holding a rope as the fourth climbs up it

Meanwhile, Drug Free Sport New Zealand, the organisation responsible for keeping Kiwi sport clean and free from doping, received a funding increase for three years to 2024 to boost their ongoing anti-doping work.  

Establishing a new organisation for integrity

On commencement in 2024, the new entity –the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission (the Commission) – will be independent from existing sporting entities, including Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ. The Commission will take on the existing parts of the current sport and recreation integrity landscape. This includes the functions of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, and responsibility for the Sport and Recreation Complaints and Mediation Service. Additionally, it will be responsible for leading an approach for protecting against competition manipulation and corruption.  

The Commission’s purpose, role and scope

The purpose, role and scope of the Commission are set out in the Integrity Sport and Recreation Act (the Act) which became law in August 2023.

The Act requires that the Commission commences by no later than 1 July 2024. It will work independently across the sport and recreation sector to promote and protect the safety and wellbeing of participants, seeking to:

  • prevent and address threats to integrity in sport and active recreation
  • promote participants’ trust and confidence in sector integrity.

Its focus will include participant protection (including protection against discrimination), child safeguarding, anti-doping, anti-competition manipulation, anti-corruption, and organisational culture. The anti-doping functions and powers of Drug Free Sport NZ will be folded into the Commission upon establishment, along with the integrity capability-build work currently undertaken by Sport NZ.

In addition to providing advice and education, the Commission will advocate for integrity and be empowered to establish and enforce codes, including a national code for sport and recreation, as well as rules relating to integrity and fair competition. Adoption of the code and rules will be voluntary, and the Commission will work with organisations to encourage their uptake and effective implementation.

The Commission will also be able to conduct investigations into integrity matters, report on its findings, and may refer breaches of codes and rules to a Disciplinary Panel or the Sports Tribunal for resolution where necessary. The Sports Tribunal’s jurisdiction will be expanded to include appeals related to the national code and referrals from the Commission.

Useful links

Read the Act: Integrity Sport and Recreation Act 2023

Read the Cabinet paper: Protecting and Promoting the Integrity of Sport and Active Recreation

Explore current integrity support

Share your views

Creating a national code of  Integrity for sport and recreation

A key recommendation from the Integrity Working Group’s report was the need for a set of common integrity standards, a national code of Integrity across the sport and recreation sector. The code is intended to provide clarity for organisations and individuals as to what standards of behaviour are acceptable, what is not, and what must be done when potential integrity breaches occur.

The code is intended to form the cornerstone of the sector’s integrity system. It will be designed to ensure participants (including athletes) are protected, and will be focussed on harm prevention. The code will set clear minimum standards for integrity that are founded on fundamental human rights. It is also intended to be a mechanism for holding individuals and organisations to account when they fail to meet those standards. 

Addressing competition manipulation 

To help address competition manipulation, the IWG recommended that Aotearoa New Zealand become a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (the Macolin Convention).

According to the Macolin Convention, manipulation of sports competitions is “an intentional arrangement, act or omission aimed at an improper alteration of the result or the course of a sports competition in order to remove all or part of the unpredictable nature of the sports competition with a view to obtaining an undue benefit for oneself or for others”. This could include activities such as court-siding, manipulating classifications, match-fixing, competing as another person, sharing inside information 

The Macolin Convention requests public authorities to co-operate with sports organisations, betting operators and competition organisers to prevent, detect and sanction the manipulation of sports competitions. It proposes a common legal framework for an efficient international cooperation to respond to this global threat. Sport NZ is responsible for   exploring the impacts on Aotearoa New Zealand, via a National Interest Analysis (NIA). 

The Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission will work with relevant government agencies to develop a national approach to this and will consider issuing integrity codes specifically relating to competition manipulation.