Ten primary Northland sporting organisations are not ruling out structural change in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Detailed in Sport Northland's Covid-19 sector support survey completed by 13 Northland sports organisations about three weeks ago, four organisations indicated they had considered structural change - such as a merger or sharing resources - within the next six months to remain operational.
A further six said they were not sure such a change was necessary.
Participants of the survey were the Northern Football Federation, Northland Rugby Union, Parafed Northland, Northland Cricket, Bike Northland, Hockey Northland, Northland Badminton, Northland Basketball, Rugby League Northland, Bowls Northland, North Golf, Squash Northland and Swimming Northland.
The survey results were given to the Northern Advocate on the condition the responses of each organisation were not revealed.
When asked how long the organisations could survive without Government support, one organisation indicated at the time it might only remain operational for about three to four weeks.
However, it is understood that organisation was in a stronger financial position currently.
The majority of the organisations (seven) indicated they could survive for three to four months without Government support. Four others said they could survive for over five months.
According to the survey, all organisations who applied for the Government's wage subsidy had received it, bar one.
When asked to indicate their confidence (on a scale from one to five) that the wage subsidy provided the necessary financial support, most organisations put a three.
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However, further feedback indicated if there was no further support once the wage subsidy ended in June, some organisations would be permanently reduced to just three to five fulltime staff members.
In the 13 organisations, there were 94 paid staff members, including 66 fulltime and 28 part time. Only one organisation did not have any paid staff.
"Financial support" and "information sharing" were classed as critical assistance organisations wanted from Northland's sport governance bodies (Sport Northland, Northland Sports Coalition), as well as collaborative planning for the months ahead.
"We get a sense [from the survey] that the immediate position is not too bad for [organisations]," Sport Northland chief executive Brent Eastwood said.
"The fact that the majority have been able to access [the subsidy] has seen them through the immediate months since Covid-19 happened.
"Our worry is the next three to six months and how they are going to be getting through that period if there's going to be no competition."
On Sunday, Minister for Sport Grant Robertson announced a $265 million package aimed to support the sports and recreation sector in the short to long-term.
Read more: Sport's $265m lifeline detailed
Two weeks ago, Sport New Zealand also announced a $15m Sport NZ Community Resilience Fund, which was available to regional and local level organisations.
From the Sport NZ fund, clubs could apply for an immediate grant of up to $1000 to cover their fixed costs such as rent, phone, power. Regional bodies could apply for up to $40,000 for the same costs.
Eastwood explained for organisations to receive the funding, they were expected to show in their application they had considered using their own financial reserves as well as investigating other funding avenues.
While he accepted there was an element of trust in this process, Eastwood said it was likely many Northland organisations and clubs would receive the funding.
Many of Northland's sporting organisations received funding from the Oxford Sports Trust, which raised funds through the operation of gaming machines.
As gaming machines were shutdown during lockdown, that key source of funding dried up - something which was highlighted as an issue in the survey.
Eastwood said organisations' dependency on this funding would be addressed in the future after more short-term problems were solved.
Under alert level two, sport and recreation could resume - provided it occurred in groups of 10 or less.
Eastwood said while it was fantastic to see a return to sport on the horizon, he warned against rushing back to competition.
"I would say that we need to take our time before competitions especially are under way again," he said.
"The health and safety, the hygiene, the physical distancing practices that are attached to any kind of competition or event have to be carefully prepared and carefully planned and that takes some time."