Keeping New Zealanders safe in the water

Monday, 18 May 2020

Hon Poto Williams
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
May 16

Our lifeguards and coastguards who keep New Zealanders safe in the water have been given a funding boost thanks to the 2020 Budget, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams has announced.

The water safety sector will receive $63 million over four years with $60.5m going to Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand for rescue services, and $2m to Water Safety NZ to promote good water safety.

“We are a country of coastlines and need to keep people safe in the water,” Poto Williams said.

“Because of our abundance of water, activities in, on and around the water are very much part of the Kiwi lifestyle. But these water-based activities also entail risk with drowning the leading cause of recreational death and the third highest cause of accidental death.

“Demand for water safety services has been growing with patrol hours extended and more calls for help to coastguard services.

“That’s why we want to make sure these agencies can focus their energy and skills on reducing the drowning toll, rather than having to shore up their own short-term survival.

“It’ll also help them with necessary equipment, facilities, and maintenance, as well as addressing the key challenges of service delivery, recruitment and retention of volunteers.

“We are proud to ensure these organisations and services are sustainable and can continue to keep us all safe in and around the water.

“We will continue to ensure our community sectors are well supported as we rebuild together from the effects of COVID-19,” Poto Williams said.


Steve Webb
Private Secretary Media Advisor
Office of Hon Poto Williams  
021 830 842


For more information, please contact: 
Melanie Louden
Media and Communications Manager
Surf Life Saving NZ
021 757 433