A Bill proposing the banning of or heavy restrictions on all forms of extreme or high-risk sports is set to be submitted to Parliament this week which stands to impact many sports which New Zealanders currently enjoy.

High up on the banned list includes rock climbing and abseiling, base jumping, hang-gliding, and hunting; while all forms of motorsport, skiing/snowboarding, boxing, competitive martial arts, tramping and most ball sports will face tight restrictions.

The Bill is the brainchild of Anne Tolley, who has previously held a range of high-level portfolios including Minister for Police, Minister of Social Development and Minister of Education.

The Bill was supposed to be kept under wraps until it was formally submitted before the house but an anonymous source close to Tolley’s office has confirmed it is scheduled to be heard in session by the end of the week.

The Bill is backed by ACC’s CEO Scott Pickering, with his summary in support pointing to the high rate of sports-related injuries and the associated high cost to ACC in terms of payouts and treatments.
A report of statistics published in 2017 showed that the total cost of sports injuries the previous year topped $542 million.
Pickering reportedly would like to see more money spent on alternative treatments such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Reiki.

Our source claims to have seen the draft document, which proposes that much-loved sports such as rock climbing and abseiling, base jumping, hang gliding and hunting will become illegal actions, with the proposed consequences for violators including fines, a three-strikes system similar to that imposed on criminal activity for repeat offenders, and possible jail time for recidivists.

Controls on the proposed restricted sports include the use of padding and helmets for impact ball sport such as rugby; monitoring devices for all trampers and a ‘warrant of fitness’ which will be coded to ability and influence where they can travel and how long they can be out for; a maximum speed of 80 km/h for all vehicles participating in motor sports and a graduated licence which will include a practical test; and the removal of takedowns and holds in martial arts training and competitions.

Reaction to the Bill’s proposals is said to be mixed among the house of representatives, with Minister for ACC Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Health David Clark being opposed; while Paula Bennett and Gerry Brownlee being in favour.

Whether it will pass the first round remains to be seen.

Neither Tolley or Pickering nor any of the sitting MPs could be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Should we ban and restrict extreme and high-risk sports, or is it the Bill that should get stuffed?
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