MEDIA RELEASE: Changes to Covid Protection Framework do not go far enough for Clubs.

23 March 2022

Clubs New Zealand and its membership is once again left feeling disappointed and ignored over the Governments refusal to budge on Club Sport, says Clubs New Zealand.

“Of course, the changes that were announced were welcome ones, however, they do not go far enough for the club industry, and our members are tired of being ignored, says Chief Executive Larry Graham.

“Clubs New Zealand wrote to Minister Robertson and Minister Hipkins on 14 February 2022, seeking dialogue regarding the Red Settings and club sport and are yet to receive any kind of formal response.  The flat refusal to engage with our industry over the Covid Response is demoralising. 

“Our industry is often overlooked as we operate for the good of our members and our communities mostly under the radar, without asking for a lot in return.  But enough is enough.

“Today’s announcement proudly proclaimed that “from this weekend, sports, outdoor events, can all resume”, but this is not correct.  If further changes are not made to the Red Setting rules, then club sport is still prohibited because of the seated and separated rules.  That means our clubs pool tables, snooker, tables, darts boards, indoor bowling greens, squash courts, petanque courts, table tennis tables and more remain closed, all because the club holds a club licence. 

“It has been confirmed that hospitality had a secondary attack rate of 6.7 percent, and that covid transmission is relatively low.  This means our clubs have been operating without their core activities since all New Zealand went to Alert Level 2 on 17th August 2021.  That is 7 months with core club activities unavailable to members when the data is clearly showing that transmission is relatively low.

“The loss of indoor activities on top of capacity limits, seated and separated rules and the general fear created by covid has severely restricted club operations and until core activities can resume our clubs are going to suffer.

“Since early in the pandemic we have been requesting an exemption to allow club sport to operate at Alert Level 2 and now at the Red Setting, but our pleas are going unanswered.

“Chartered Clubs do not operate for the primary purpose of the sale and supply of alcohol, but rather to conduct, administer and maintain a club for its members.  The current Red Setting restrictions fail to acknowledge a club’s primary purpose which is a community club operated for its members and in many cases to facilitate sport.

“Recreational and sub-club activities are a fundamental part of club life. Recreational and sub-club activities within clubs are the home to New Zealand’s amateur sports covering codes such as 8-ball, darts, billiards and snooker, indoor and outdoor bowls, table tennis, golf, fishing and more.  These activities are member-based activities (i.e., they are not open to the public) and are the basis for more than 50 regional and national sporting tournaments a year.   Recreational and sub-club activities play a major role in preventing social isolation among our members and are critical in preventing the negative impacts Covid-19 is having on our members mental health and wellbeing.

“We strongly believe that allowing recreational and sub-club activities to resume within a club setting will not increase the risk of covid transmission but will instead go some way to alleviate the negative impacts covid has on mental health and wellbeing among club employees, volunteers, and members.

“Our clubs and their members are not prepared to wait until a change to the Orange Setting, change needs to happen now.


For media enquiries, contact:

Clubs New Zealand National Office 0800 425 827

Clubs New Zealand Incorporated (Clubs New Zealand) is a not-for-profit, member led association representing more than 300 clubs around the country including Community Clubs, Cosmopolitan Clubs, Workingmen’s Club, Sports Clubs, and Returned Servicemen’s Associations (RSAs).  Collectively our clubs employ more than 3,000 people and are a home away from home to over 300,000 club members.  To find out more visit

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