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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. 

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

Developing a new entity

The new entity – currently referred to as Integrity Sport and Recreation NZ (ISRNZ) – will be independent from existing sporting entities, including Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ. ISRNZ will take on the existing parts of the current sport and recreation integrity landscape. This includes the functions of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, all integrity functions within Sport New Zealand, which will transfer to the ISRNZ, and responsibility for the SRCMS. Additionally, it will be responsible for leading an approach for competition manipulation and corruption.  

ISRNZ’s purpose, role and scope

The purpose, role and scope of ISRNZ was confirmed by Cabinet in October 2022.

ISRNZ 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 transferred to ISRNZ upon establishment, along with the integrity work currently undertaken by Sport NZ.

In addition to providing advice and education, ISRNZ 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 ISRNZ will work with organisations to encourage their uptake and effective implementation.

ISRNZ 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 ISRNZ.

Establishing ISRNZ requires legislative changes, which will be introduced in 2023. ISRNZ is expected to become operational in 2024.

Useful links

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

Explore current integrity support

Share your views

Introducing new legislation 

ISRNZ will be established as a result of legislation that is planned to be introduced to Parliament in the first quarter of 2023. This will potentially mean changes for existing legislation including:  

Sports Anti-Doping Act 

The Sports Anti-Doping Act 2006 currently charges Drug Free Sport New Zealand with the responsibility to implement and apply the World Anti-Doping Code in Aotearoa New Zealand. It also sets out the sorts of disputes the Sports Tribunal can hear.  

Sport and Recreation New Zealand Act 

Legislative change to the Sport and Recreation New Zealand act will recognise IRSNZ and its related powers. 

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, or a ‘National Code of Sport Integrity’ (NCSI) across the sport and recreation sector. This national 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 athletes and participants 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 

Competition manipulation 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”. ISRNZ will work with relevant government agencies to develop a national approach to this and will be responsible for drafting and issuing rules relating to competition manipulation. 

To help address competition manipulation, the IWG recommended that Aotearoa New Zealand become a signatory to the Council of European Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (the Macolin Convention). The 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 of this in Aotearoa New Zealand, via a National Impact Assessment (NIA).