|In recent decades, the level of government intervention in sport has increased, involving greater resource allocations to community sport development, high performance sport and business capability initiatives. Within this context, sports organisations have faced increasing expectations around financial accountability and the need to provide professional governance and management. Increasing government intervention in sport has, however, not been matched by a growth in research, particularly into the way government involvement both reflects and contributes to changing understandings of the nature of sport and related changes to sports organisation that affect people’s opportunities to participate. This thesis seeks to address this gap by carrying out a critical analysis of the politics of sports policy in New Zealand, with a specific focus on golf.
The research specifically aims to understand the nature of sport as understood by key stakeholders in sports policy; explore the discourses and underlying values that underpin investment into the golf sector; examine the wider implications of the discourses on sport funding decisions; and uncover the hidden politics of sport funding. It does so by adopting critical discourse analysis approach that recognises the discursive context within which sports policy and organisation are constructed. In this instance, the critical discourse analysis approach attempts to capture the underlying ways of seeing, explaining and understanding the sports policy context, and the way that these understandings influence the relationships between the government, voluntary and corporate institutions that are involved. The research explores the way dominant discourses shape the understanding of sport, and specifically golf, by these stakeholders and how these influence the priorities of sports organisations. The study reveals the way the discourses shaping the direction of national sports policy privilege a business approach, which position sport as a means to economic development, although alongside this are discourses that emphasise the value of sport as a means to social inclusion and health and wellbeing.
The study recommends further research that include a comparative analysis of the findings in NZG with other nations that have both established sports policies and golf governing systems (e.g. the United States or the United Kingdom) with a greater focus at the grassroots level.