Healthy Living Blog

Wellness vs Sickness ……the forgotten industry


When talking about the health of the nation there is one industry that is not getting the consideration deserved from Government – the health and fitness industry, better identified as The Wellness Industry; responsible for the ‘wellness’ numbers approaching three quarters of a million New Zealanders and employing an estimated 10,000 Kiwis.

Right now our industry needs help to pay its commercial leases. Ideally, this would come in the form of a freeze, or if not an interest free government loan.

Think about it. Gyms, studios and Health Clubs provide the closest thing to true health insurance – the enhancement of health and prevention of illness. At the least they provide;

  • A structured discipline to maintain mental health and give an environment of positive reinforcement and social support (reducing the desire for drugs)
  • An avenue to building your immune system
  • Facilities to reduce obesity and maintain healthy body weight
  • A real solution to strengthening your heart and lowering your blood pressure (without drugs) with the ability to adapt for any age
  • The ability to re-kindle self-esteem and lost muscle tone of cancer patients

It is ironic that right now with the coming Level 3, the ‘Wellness Industry’, an industry that has been SAVING our country many millions in SICKNESS PREVENTION, remains closed and rarely mentioned by media or government.

This is in contrast to the fact that the public is able to purchase;

  1. Liquor – which has been consistently proven to be a root cause in family violence (now up by 20%) and a known destructor of brain cells and general health.
  2. Fast food outlets, that have been consistently linked to a major cause of obesity are being allowed to open their drive-ins

In the majority of cases the Wellness Industry gyms, clubs, centres are operated by husband and wife health ‘evangelists’ whose passion for sharing the disciplines of ‘staying well and in physical peak’, is their key driver. And in almost ALL cases the same people now remain liable for outgoings and the payment of their commercial leases with ZERO income to do so.

Admittedly, some of us are able to borrow, each week, from the bank for the money to pay rents on our closed gyms, while interest and principle expand our growing debt.

I see a justification that the Government set aside funding to help maintain the survival of the ‘wellness industry’.  Surely, this industry is at the very least as vital as medical practices (the sickness industry) which we understand has had additional funding assistance to remain viable.

There is no indication from Government of when gyms will be able to openThe only WINNER is the bank, who continue to loan and to grow their interest and pending repayments.

Why not allow industry to open NOW? The Minister of Health was reported this week when rationalizing the opening of child-care centres that ‘there are no new cases. The disease has been stamped out apart from those who have/are being infected by the known clusters’. If this is the case, why not open?!

We are the Wellness Industry. We love and support our members. We provide FUN, a positive environment, multi-million dollar facilities, mostly funded by ourselves. We have kept YOU fit and well. Now we need YOUR HELP.


Paul Richards

Writer and family: CEO – Club Physical – founder of 24 New Zealand Health Clubs – current operator of three and responsible for the payment of commercial leases and the wellness of several thousand members.

We’re in our 39th year of operation. There are a number of family members involved in the business and six adult instructors (family), mostly martial art black-belts, living together now under lock-down. In place we now provide FREE LIVE ZOOM daily classes.



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