Do you watch the Paralympics?

This is going to be a difficult subject, and I admit, I thought twice about writing about it. First of all, I want to point out that I have two very good friends who are both severely disabled, and I have nothing but admiration for both of them for the way they live their lives as normally as possible. Both work full time. Neither of them gets much government help, although there is a little bit for vehicle conversion and of course disability car parking. For what they give to society, I think the taxpayer does very well out of them. They give back to the government far more than they get. And for that matter, they give back to society far more than they get. But that is just the kind of people that they are.

But tonight, in what could be seen as a virtue signalling move, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Paralympians will receive the same amount of funding as all Olympians.

This from TVNZ: quote:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at the Adecco Prime Minister’s Dinner this evening that Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGs) will now be the same value for Paralympians and Olympians.

In the past, said grants for Olympians could be worth up to $20,000 more but Ms Ardern said along with the new parity, a new health insurance plan for all carded athletes will be created to recognise “the hard work and sacrifice that comes with excellence on the world stage is the same for all of our elite athletes”. end quote.

First, I fully acknowledge that all Olympians work hard and make considerable sacrifices for their sports. I do not wish to take anything away from Paralympians for the enormous effort they put into their events. A lot of people think public money being spent on sports is money wasted. I am ambivalent about this because sport is very much a part of the New Zealand psyche. I know a lot of people hate the money spent on Americas Cup challenges, but they do provide a lot of thrills and also a lot of pride for so many people in this country. I like to think these regattas bring us together as a nation. I cannot deny that, although I rarely watch sailing otherwise, I am glued to every race that Team New Zealand takes part in. The positive publicity that the team gives to our little country every time they venture out on the water gives us a big return in TV rights, tourism and a lot of other things that are not immediately obvious but are there nonetheless.

Ditto the All Blacks. It goes without saying. They are the best ambassadors that a country can ever have, and they are held to an extraordinarily high standard of behaviour – as you always find out, when one of them is guilty of a transgression.

I guess I measure it on this basis. Yes, I will get up in the middle of the night to watch the All Blacks, Team New Zealand and certain Olympic events. Mahe Drysdale and Lisa Carrington – absolutely. But I have to admit, and maybe it is to my shame, that I would never get up in the middle of the night to watch the Paralympics. I wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night to watch the Black Ferns either.

It may not be fair, but think about Oscar Pistorius. Yes, wasn’t he an amazing runner? He almost made the Olympics but a lot of his success was due to engineering and, let’s be honest – that cannot be said of any Olympic runner, who has to rely entirely on training and talent.

So, what do you think? Is giving the Paralympians the same amount of government funding as other Olympians a good use of public funds? Do you support this?

 


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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