Months of dissatisfaction and unrest in Swimming New Zealand's ranks will come to a head in Wellington today.
SNZ's regions meet their board at the Miramar Golf Club after eight out of 16 regions, as well as the New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers association (NZSCAT), issued a joint letter last Sunday calling for the resignation of the board en masse. It gave the board a week to comply otherwise the signatories would consider organising a Special General Meeting to do the same job.
The regions expressed concerns surrounding government agency Sparc's instigation of a major review of the sport in December last year. It eventually resulted in the damning Ineson report in June. They believe the board's response has been inadequate and want a new board elected at next month's annual general meeting.
There are 48 votes in the SNZ electoral college. Using current membership numbers it is understood signatories Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury/West Coast, Southland, Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay, Manawatu, Taranaki, Nelson/Marlborough and NZSCAT make up 29 votes. Twenty-nine votes out of 48 equals 60.4 per cent - a significant number because any constitutional change requires 60 per cent agreement. Standard votes only need 50 per cent.
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Board chairman Murray Coulter will attend today. There is no intention of a complete board resignation as yet.
"Clearly the letter indicated these regions do not support the board but we believe some of the other regions are polarised to this.
"I doubt a resolution will take place but we want to understand why some of the regions are asking for this. Questions have been raised about our leadership and communication but these are fairly vague terms and we want clarity. The whole thing is disappointing and not the way you want to maintain a mandate amongst your regional stakeholders."
Sparc CEO Peter Miskimmin says they need to try to let SNZ work out its problems.
That is despite a scheduled $1.65 million of Sparc taxpayer investment into SNZ this year and $6.6 million over this Olympic cycle.
"We have been concerned but have two independent directors on the SNZ board in Nelson Cull and Kerry McDonald. Clearly we want to see sound governance and leadership again. We had heard people felt a sense of disquiet but hopefully having two directors there is protecting the government investment."
McDonald and Cull are understood to be chairing today's meeting.