Northland Rugby Union has continued its strong financial position as all provincial unions recorded a surplus in 2016.

For the first time since 2013, all 14 unions posted surpluses in the 2016 financial year, Deloitte said. This meant they combined for their best surplus in a decade.

NRU CEO Alistair McGinn said it was a continuation of a strong five year period for the province.

"We are one of four unions that have had surpluses for the last five years which has gone back into local rugby," he said.


"The main reason we've been profitable is raising commercial revenue through sponsorship and the NZR, careful expenditure and investing into the right areas and not overspending.

"The Mitre 10 Cup team have had good planning around managing costs, good support from the NRU board.

"The likes of NRU chairman Ajit Balasingham and Craig Wells have given great advice to NRU regarding finances. They're well-respected local businessman."

Collectively they recorded combined surpluses of $3.5 million last year compared to joint losses of $1.4m in 2015.

Twelve delivered better financial results than in 2015.

Revenue across the unions was $78.2m in the 2016 financial year, up from $66.4m the year before - a rise of 17.8 per cent.

Deloitte said a main part of the result was "the substantial increase in grants" being provided by New Zealand Rugby.

"It is expected that the increased grants, to be used to invest in the development of the game at the grassroots, will continue in the foreseeable future," Deloitte said.

The NRU have maintained their surpluses through astute moves which have put them in a good position heading forward.

McGinn said ultimately the goal is always getting as many people as they can playing rugby.

"We've got green lights in many areas. We've raised playing numbers in all junior grades," he said.

"We're working hard to maintain our business model. We focus on good management but our main directive is getting players out on the pitch."

The trend shown from all provincial unions has been a major positive for New Zealand Rugby.

Deloitte partner Grant Jarrold said the unions made big improvements.

"The positive takeaway is that the largest increase in expenditure, in percentage and dollar terms, was in the 'growing the game' category," said Jarrold.

"This reflects that increases in revenue was reinvested back into grassroots rugby. Spending on this category increased by $2.9 million, the largest year-on-year increase since we began doing this annual review," he said.

"However, the unions still need to remain vigilant with their spending. After all, they are the current caretakers of the game and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that funds are spent purposefully, and are aligned to the strategy of growing the game in the community," he said.