The New Zealand National-led Government is following through on its promise to “ensure publicly funded sporting bodies support fair competition that is not compromised by rules relating to gender”.
The policy is part of the National Party’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, whose sport and recreation spokesman Andy Foster says restricting biological males who identify as women from competing in women's sport is “about fairness and safety in sport for women”.
As part of the policy, the Government will withhold public funding from New Zealand sports bodies if they do not protect female-only sport at the grassroots/community level. This is particularly significant for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, until now, it has predominantly been international and national sporting bodies that have been stepping up to protect women-only sport, rather than governments. But rather than leaving sporting organisations to deal with the contentious issue themselves, the New Zealand Government is tackling it head-on.
And secondly, the focus has primarily been on protecting elite sport, rather than community competitions, the protection of which is essential if women and girls are going to have a sporting chance from the get-go.
It is time the Australian Labor Government also took a stand to protect women’s sport, and a fair and safe playing field for women and girls.
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