• Murray McCully
Sport Fitness and Leisure

Sport, Fitness and Leisure Minister Murray McCully has announced a 40% boost in funding for the country's sports drug watchdog, the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency, from $450,000 to $642,000 per year.

"We are committed to playing a leading role in the international campaign to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport," said Mr McCully.

"We must be seen to be adequately prepared to crack down on the use of performance enhancing drugs by our own athletes if we are to urge others to take strong measures too," he said.

"Times have changed since New Zealand hosted the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland," he said.

"The Sports Drug Agency operates in an increasingly challenging drug testing environment, and it needs to increase the number of tests it conducts in order to maintain an effective deterrent against the use of performance enhancing drugs."

This extra funding in the 1997 Budget is part of a sports package which has also seen the Government more than double its funding for high performance sport, setting aside an extra $4.2M to meet the needs of athletes over the next three years in the run-up to the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and the Sydney Olympics.