The New Zealand Olympic Committee has endorsed the Olympic Movement Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration, calling it a positive step towards understanding and strengthening athlete welfare and rights. 

The endorsement follows the formal recommendation from the Athletes’ Commission that the New Zealand Olympic Committee adopt and incorporate the declaration’s intent into the organisation’s policies, processes and agreements.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission, made up of Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes elected by their peers, has also recommended New Zealand’s athletes and National Federations take proactive steps together in the spirit of the declaration to help move New Zealand sport forward.

“The declaration is timely,” said Athletes’ Commission Chair Nathan Twaddle. “Athlete welfare and integrity are significant priorities for New Zealand sport right now.”

“We have asked the New Zealand Olympic Committee to adopt the guiding principles in the declaration and to encourage National Federations as their members to do the same.

“We believe all National Federations will benefit from an increased athlete voice within their organisations as it has never been more self-evident that our athletes should feel they have a say in their performance and feel safe to air any concerns or issues they may have.

“The Athletes' Declaration is an important step towards positive change. We look forward to supporting New Zealand’s athletes and collaborating with the wider New Zealand sporting sector to enact the principles of the declaration and to find solutions to the issues athletes and sports currently face.”

“The Athletes’ Declaration is a world-wide initiative that New Zealand is at the forefront of and we are proud to support Sarah (Walker) as Chair of the Olympic Movements Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration Steering Group as well as New Zealand’s Chantal Brunner who also contributed to this important piece of work,” continued Twaddle.

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith welcomes the initiative from the Athletes’ Commission.

“The New Zealand Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission has been active for 25 years and we welcome their ongoing advice and perspective.”

“Athletes are at the heart of our organisation and it’s vital that we, together with our members, ensure we have the right policies, processes and commitments. We look forward to supporting our National Federation members in this process.”

The declaration is an athlete-driven initiative, developed by athletes and for athletes through a worldwide consultation process. A 20-strong athlete representative Steering Committee (chaired by New Zealand IOC Athletes Commission member Sarah Walker), used feedback from more than 4-thousand athletes from 190 countries to shape the declaration. It was adopted by the IOC at the IOC Session held in Buenos Aires 6 and 7 October.

The declaration’s overarching goal is to further support athletes — no matter their sport, age, gender or nationality, by outlining a common set of aspirational rights and responsibilities for athletes within the Olympic Movement. It covers topics such as anti-doping, integrity, clean sport, career, communications, governance, discrimination, due process and protection from harassment and abuse.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee will begin the process of embedding the declaration in its formal policies and processes within the coming weeks.

Read more about the IOC Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration:

Read more about the New Zealand Olympic Committee Integrity Regulation:

Read more about the New Zealand Olympic Committee Inclusion Position Statement:

Read more about the New Zealand Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission:

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