20 Dec 2012

NZ's world champ surf lifesavers puzzled by funding cut

6:43 pm on 20 December 2012

New Zealand's world champion surf lifesavers are up in arms over what their organisation's calling "a dramatic and unprecedented" government funding cut.

A month after the Black Fins won the World Championships in Adelaide, the defence of their world title in France in 2014 is in jeopardy, according to Surf Life Saving New Zealand high performance manager Brad Edwards.

Edwards had been hoping for an increase in his campaign budget for 2013-2014, given the next World Championships are in Europe and the challenge of defending the title against the wounded Australians.

But instead, High Performance Sport New Zealand has cut the sport's funding from $710,000 to $330,000 for the next two years - down $380,000, or 54 percent, from the last two-year cycle.

And the entire athlete performance enhancement grants eligibility has been eliminated.

Edwards says SLSNZ had an agreed goal with HPSNZ to win the world championship and they not only achieved that, we did it in style, beating Australia on their own sand by 80 points.

Edwards says they simply do not understand what's changed, and he's going back to HPSNZ to seek clarification.