Leisure Centres vary in their facilities and approach, and we set out to visit those
which cater to the whole population rather than merely a small number of elite athletes:
though the latter certainly make good use of such centres!
We believe that similar centres in New Zealand would bring great benefits.
Local Government in New Zealand has no responsibility for health and cannot fund
centres without large increases in rates. Health is funded nationally so improved
health offers no incentive to councils. However, properly promoted and integrated
with existing Health and Social Services, such centres will reduce overall Government
expenditure after a few years.
“Green Prescriptions” are fine, but there's usually no “Green Pharmacy” to dispense
them, that is, no suitable place to do the exercise prescribed. Walking outdoors
is excellent but not always possible, and can be dangerous. Supervision is desirable
for some people in case of a medical emergency. Leisure Centres should be designed
for the average person but would benefit New Zealand's top sports, as more people
would realise their potential given the opportunity. They are a social focal point
and encourage social cohesion, breaking down many barriers between ages. Older people
can be mentors to younger. Some of our social problems will be reduced, too. READ
ARE WE THE FITTEST NATION ON EARTH? IF NOT, WHY NOT?