A new international advocacy network has been set up in New Zealand ©Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has helped set up an international advocacy network to enhance the country's "influence in the global sporting sector".

Launched this month, the New Zealand International Representatives Network for Sport will comprise more than 50 members from various sectors in the nation.

Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general and Athletics Integrity Unit chair David Howman and Ben Sandford, the head of the WADA Athlete Committee, are among the first members of the network.

Its main objectives are to promote New Zealand, gain international insights for the benefit of New Zealand and of New Zealand sport, and support the country's major event strategies.

The network will also aim to develop sports leaders in New Zealand.

Former WADA director general David Howman is a member of the network ©Getty Images
Former WADA director general David Howman is a member of the network ©Getty Images

"We’re a sports mad country with fantastic connections into the highest levels of global sport," said NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith. 

"Coordinating our influence across these decision-making bodies will deliver significant benefit to New Zealand.

"Launching this network will allow our international representatives to draw on each other’s experience and contacts for the betterment of the New Zealand sporting sector."

Sandford, an Olympian in skeleton, said the network "will allow for better coordination of those representing our nation overseas, ensuring that New Zealand’s interests can be advanced in a more cohesive way to deliver benefit to our athletes and sports".

"It is a great step forward and we’re delighted to see our global reputation for integrity and excellence being maximised," he said.