Swimming New Zealand hopes to get a clearer picture of regional dissatisfaction at a meeting in Wellington tomorrow.
Eight of the 16 regional bodies, including Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury, have signed a letter seeking the SNZ board's resignation in the wake of a damning Ineson report into the state of the sport released in June.
The letter cites their "deep concern at the response of the SNZ board to the findings of the Ineson report" and "disquiet at the apparent lack of willingness of the board to accept their responsibility for ... failures of leadership".
That report, commissioned by government funding agency Sparc, was highly critical of the high performance end of SNZ and called for substantial changes.
The eight have indicated they will seek a special general meeting if SNZ does not respond. So the first step is a forum for the regional bodies, to be chaired by Sparc-appointed advisers to the SNZ board Nelson Cull and Kerry McDonald.
"We want their collective view rather than the view of those that signed the letter," SNZ chairman Murray Coulter said yesterday.
"I don't know what process went on to get the support of those who haven't signed it, if any. Hence the board's position that they should all get together and discuss it openly among themselves."
Coulter had been aware of dissatisfaction among some regions since before the Ineson report.
"I'm not entirely surprised but I'm certainly disappointed," Coulter said of the letter.
"I don't believe it's necessary. Open dialogue with us would have been much easier. I'm very concerned for our organisation and I don't think it's the best way for us to be working together to deliver swimming in this country."
Coulter traces dissatisfaction back about 18 months to two years but believes the goalposts kept shifting in terms of what the source of the problem was among some regions.
Coulter hopes tomorrow's meeting will reveal how much support there is for the eight bodies seeking the resignations.
"Certainly the group that have signed the letter are important stakeholders and we respect their views. But I don't understand whether everybody in all regions being represented share that view.
"There is evidence that says that is not the case. I have other regions coming to us saying, 'We support what you're doing, keep going."'
One regional body unhappy at the move was Swimming Wairarapa, which said it had not been formally notified that the resignation letter was being written and was critical of "no alternative solution" being offered to mass resignation.
It advocated "face-to-face communication" and welcomed tomorrow's meeting.
Auckland Swimming executive director Brian Palmer described the issue as one of accountability.
"We as regions are constitutional owners effectively of SNZ and appoint the board," he said. "There have been serious issues in the public domain and we believe the board has been identified as being part of the problem and there needs to be a collective acceptance of responsibility."
Palmer said he would be surprised if any region was unaware of the developments of the past few days.
Coulter characterised it as "shareholders who are not seeing eye to eye and what we're trying to do is ... see if they can resolve what they think the challenges are for the organisation and hopefully from there we can move forward".
The other five regional bodies that signed the letter are Swimming Nelson/Marlborough, Manawatu, Taranaki, Southland and Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay, as well as the Swimming Coaches Association.