Swimming: Board cleanout 'catastrophic'

By David Leggat

Murray Coulter. Photo / Getty Images
Murray Coulter. Photo / Getty Images

Swimming New Zealand bosses have thrown the onus back on their eight stroppy regions, who have demanded a block resignation of the governing body's board.

The eight, including Auckland and Bay of Plenty, sent a letter to SNZ asking the board to resign after the highly critical Ineson report, which was damning on the state of the high-performance end of SNZ's operation.

All 16 regions met in Wellington on Sunday to try to find common ground - eight did not sign the letter calling for the mass stepdown - and now SNZ have gone on the front foot.

SNZ chairman Murray Coulter yesterday said if the entire board resigned it would be catastrophic for the sport.

SNZ have called on the eight - along with the swim coaches and teachers' association - seeking the resignations to withdraw their request, which had been followed by a threat to call a special general meeting if the board did not resign en masse.

"We are awaiting their response to that letter," SNZ chairman Murray Coulter said yesterday.

"The remainder of the points raised in their letter we'd like to leave on the table and say yes, they are serious issues that we need to work together on as a sport.

"The point we're trying to make is that if the entire board walks out it's pretty disruptive and would cause more harm than good."

Coulter was not at the meeting but the board received a briefing from one of its two members appointed by government funding agency Sparc, Kerry McDonald, who co-chaired Sunday's meeting.

A cone of silence has descended on the regions, from those wanting the resignations and those who did not sign the letter.

It is understood they have been told to keep quiet.

McDonald did not return calls yesterday. Nor did officials from several regions.

Among the points raised by McDonald to the regions was that forcing the resignations would have significant impacts in high-performance funding, sponsorships, image and reputation, along with a loss of capability and continuity.

It's not a large stretch to figure that big financial providers Sparc would take a dim view of a bloc resignation.

Coulter, who likened the situation to be a case of the regions "trying to use a sledgehammer on a nut", said no time limit had been set for the eight to withdraw their request but "I expect them to reply as expeditiously as possible".

Pulling out the threat of calling a special general meeting ahead of the annual meeting late next month, "lies with them".

The other six who signed the resignation request were Southland, Taranaki, Canterbury, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay, and Nelson/Marlborough.

Those who didn't were Northland, Waikato, Wanganui, Otago, Counties Manukau, Wairarapa, Wellington and Eastern Districts, based between Ashburton and Oamaru.

Coulter acknowledged SNZ has plenty of work to do after the Ineson report.

"We know that, we accept it," he said. "What we're pleading with them to do is work with us to come up with a solution.

"If it means some of us have to move on I don't have a problem with that.

"But I do have a problem with the entire board walking. That would be catastrophic."

- NZ Herald

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