A Political Solution

December 23rd, 2014

By David

Simon Plumb’s Sunday Star Times article (“Another Swim NZ restructure puts coaches’ jobs on line”) highlights the fiasco that is Swimming New Zealand. One of the many important observations reported by Simon Plumb is this fascinating comment “Associate Minister of Sport Murray McCully is now taking an interest.”

If that means what it seems to mean it is welcome news indeed. Swimming New Zealand has had review after review after review after review. Millions have been spent studying the subject. The analysis has been breathtaking. Sweetenham was well paid to tell us that following his advice would yield a bucket full of Beijing Olympic medals. Swimming New Zealand followed his instructions; Jan Cameron got control of the Miskimmin centralized delivery of elite training. But inevitably the Sweetenham promise of Olympic Gold came to nothing.

And then, when Swimming New Zealand couldn’t impose Project Vanguard on the sport, Miskimmin employed Chris Ineson to prepare another report. Ineson did a good job. His report included many “down to earth” truths and good advice that the sport desperately needed. I was a bit embarrassed by Ineson’s findings. I thought he was a Miskimmin hired hand that would write whatever Sport New Zealand ordered. But I was wrong. Of course my admiration for Ineson’s work was more than matched by Miskimmin’s disapproval. The Ineson Report was shelved, never to be heard of again.

And then, just as the regions of Swimming New Zealand were about to roll their corrupt, inept and incompetent rulers, Miskimmin called for another review. Chris Moller was brought in. He was well aware of the rules of the game and prepared a report that fitted perfectly with Miskimmin’s ambition. The report was bulldozed through a Special General Meeting; remember the infamous Moller instruction, “The recommendations of the report cannot be cherry picked.” Game, set and match – Miskimmin owned the sport of swimming. And from that day onwards it has all been downhill.

By now, it must be obvious to everyone – in the sport of swimming Miskimmin’s policy of centralized delivery does not work. Miskimmin’s policy will never work in the sport of swimming. Swimming is different from cycling and rowing. Swimming has a history of private businesses providing commercial instruction. Cycling and rowing do not have that same commercial history. Their clubs have traditionally been coached by amateur coaches. The government taking over these sports was like the government managing our national parks. No one cared. No one’s business was being impacted as a result. But swimming is different. Taking over swimming is like the government wanting to assume control of supermarket retailing. PAK’nSAVE and Countdown are not going to like that one little bit. Just as New Zealand swimming clubs are going to object and prevent government bureaucrats, in the form of Swimming New Zealand, stealing income and business from our swimming retail outlets. Sport New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand’s current strategy is a threat to the livelihood of every professional club and coach in the country.

Swimming New Zealand has become an object of jest. Renford, Villanueva and Layton are despised by some and laughed at by others. The governance of the sport is respected by almost no one. The way Swimming New Zealand has dealt with David Lyles and Gary Hurring is a final insult. Pencil pushing foreigners, driving around in flash new Mazda cars, appear to have treated an honest New Zealand sporting icon and a world recognized poolside coach with contempt and disdain. The grass roots of the sport should not, will not, stand for that behavior. How Mark Berge can worship Swimming New Zealand on a prayer mat facing the Auckland Harbor Bridge when, of all people, Gary Hurring has been treated like this, beggars belief.

If the Government is to avoid serious political fallout from the mess that is the sport of swimming it would indeed be prudent for the Associate Minister of Sport Murray McCully to take an interest. For the government doing something about the mess that is swimming is all upside; the ultimate win, win. Decisive action by the Minister will win favor with swimming people throughout the country. They are sick of losing, sick of the “them-and-us” culture, sick of the flash offices, inflated salaries and corporate cars. For New Zealanders outside of swimming government action will be seen in an even more positive light. Of course other sports are wondering why swimming, with its appalling performance record and management chaos keeps being rewarded with multimillion dollar handouts. With some justification the public are asking, “Aren’t there more worthy causes?”

Murray McCully has been presented with the perfect opportunity to fix swimming and earn the support of thousands of regular New Zealand observers of sport. Here are the Swimwatch suggestions of what the Associate Minster should do.

  1. With the exception of grants paid directly to athletes withdraw all government funding of swimming. No more $1.4million per year for the high performance program. No more government funding provided to swimming under other headings.

  2. Appoint an employee of Sport New Zealand to manage the withdrawal of the government’s involvement in the sport of swimming; to teach swimming to stand on its own two independent feet again.

  3. Fund the closure of Antares Place including the departure of Renford, Villanueva and all the other staff. Find private employment for Loader, Bentley, Lyles and Hurring.

  4. Terminate all Swimming New Zealand’s involvement in high performance training or emerging talent identification. Assist athletes currently coached by Swimming New Zealand find suitable coaches in New Zealand or overseas. In other words – return those responsibilities to the private sector.

  5. Terminate all Swimming New Zealand programs such as the Whole of Sport Plan, the membership register, the centralized meet entry procedure and the sport’s involvement in learn to swim.

  6. Employ two Swimming New Zealand employees, a CEO and an Assistant, to manage and run the affairs of New Zealand Swimming. Find office space for Swimming New Zealand’s two employees in the building currently occupied by Auckland Swimming.

  7. Ensure that all Swimming New Zealand operating costs are funded by membership fees or money received from national meets or from private enterprise sponsorships or from “Pub Charity” type grants.

  8. Teach the organization to stand alone. Teach the organization that it does not need to be a welfare beneficiary to operate successfully.

  9. With the exception of direct athlete grants paid under the PEGS or Prime Minister Scholarship programs provide no government financial assistance to swimming for a period of five years. At the end of five years fund the appointment of a Head Coach who would not coach but would be charged with assisting private coaches do their jobs better.

  10. Prepare a new national constitution that provides a strong federal power structure for the sport based on robust regions governing the affairs of Swimming New Zealand and managing the sport of swimming in their geographical areas.

  11. Prepare new regional constitutions that provide for the democratic election of regional boards by clubs. In other words use the governance structure of the organization to invest power in the clubs and the regions – not Sport New Zealand’s electoral commission.

In a month Murray McCully could win huge popular support for his management of sport; not to mention votes at the next general election. He could find a better home for millions of government dollars and could turn a sport that is currently a shambolic welfare beneficiary into a successful, strong, independent organization capable of beating the world. As I say, please Murray McCully, do it. It’s a win, win for us all.

 

What A Bloody Mess

December 20th, 2014

By David

For days now swimming in New Zealand has been awash with rumour and gossip. The High Performance Unit in Wellington was about to be closed. Gary Hurring and his Assistant were out of a job. The High Performance unit at the Millennium Institute was about to be restructured. David Lyles and Danyon Loader were being stood down and were expected to apply for new positions created as part of the restructuring. Swimming New Zealand was about to change its high performance focus from senior “Lauren Boyle” type swimmers to emerging talent. On and on the gossip train rolled.

And where was the leadership from Swimming New Zealand in all this? Where was the much trumpeted communication between Layton and the Chairmen of the Regions? Where was the architect of this shambles, Chris Moller? Where was Miskimmin, the sport’s esteemed leader? Where was Baumann who only a week ago told us the Dutch had visited New Zealand to find out our swimming secrets? Gone, vanished, nowhere to be found is the answer. In a management style for which they have become famous, Swimming New Zealand bumbled and stumbled and sat in silence. Swimming New Zealand fiddled while Rome burned.

In a move straight out of Monte Python, the first indication that Swimming New Zealand was up a creek without a paddle was published 12,000 miles away in London on the SwimVortex website. The wreck that is Swimming New Zealand had circled the world and still Miskimmin, Layton and Renford said nothing.

The first rule of a government bureaucrat is, “never make your minister look stupid.” Take a bow Peter Miskimmin. On the same day as Swimming New Zealand was falling to bits; one week after Miskimmin had promised high performance swimming $2.8 million, the Minister of Sport, Dr Jonathan Coleman was reported as “defending the process for handing out High Performance Sport New Zealand funding.

Coleman is reported to have said Sport New Zealand is “getting results where they want them. In the end look you’ve got to pick a strategy. We’ve been quite clear of what we’re looking to achieve and the path to achieving that, and I’ve got real confidence that it is delivering.”

Well good for you Dr Coleman. But I’m not so sure you are right. In fact I think you are being made to look like an incompetent fool. In three weeks the program you finance has lost New Zealand’s best swimmers. Clearly Boyle and Stanley think your program is not “delivering”. They think it stinks. Your program may have just sacked a New Zealand sporting icon and winner of the Halberg Award. The same guy is also one of the best swim coaches in the world; a man who struggled to get results out of your ridiculous strategy and unsurprisingly failed as many before him and others still to come will fail. How do I know all this? Well I worked in the same club as that coach many years ago. And let me tell you this for nothing – he’s worth a hundred of the Sport New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand air-brains you currently rely on.

And if your “path” to achievement is buggering about with David Lyles, that is just as bad. I don’t know Lyles. But as I have made clear on several occasions my only complaint with the man is that he supported Miskimmin’s barren sporting strategy – a strategy that looks like its bitten Lyles on the arse just as it has done to a dozen good coaches that went before. What I can say about Lyles is that many good swimming people, who I do know well, hold him in high regard. I trust their opinion. It appears as if David Lyles is another good man wrecked and abandoned by Swimming New Zealand. Thank you Chris Moller. Thank you Peter Miskimmin.

The most amusing aspect of this sorry saga is the suggestion that Swimming New Zealand is going to focus on developing emerging talent. What on earth convinces Swimming New Zealand to believe that it is going to be successful with junior swimmers is beyond me. What is Swimming New Zealand saying? We couldn’t prepare Lauren Boyle or Mathew Stanley properly so let us loose on the careers of Bobbi Gichard and others. If they are, it is sad and it is pathetic.

But that’s not the amusing bit. One rumour doing the rounds today was that Donna Bouzaid saw herself as a potential National Head Coach of the new emerging talent program. Now that is funny. Swimming New Zealand discards Chief Engineers Hurring and Lyles and appoints the oily rag to run the engine room. I did not believe Layton, Renford and Villanueva could do worse than they already have. It looks to me like they are giving it a real shot.

This last point may or may not be relevant. But if it is true and Swimming New Zealand is pulling out of high performance preparation in Auckland, what is happening to the $24million swimming pool being built at the Millennium Institute? Auckland City Council agreed to pay for that pool because it was going to be the home of the High Performance Sport New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand elite swimming strategy. A commitment to spend $24million was entered into on the basis of high performance assurances given to Auckland councillors by High Performance Sport New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand.

And now, it seems, those assurances are being abandoned. They count for nothing. I’m no expert in corporate law but it seems to me that the request for money to build that pool may now be as corrupt as any finance company that prepares a false prospectus. The Serious Fraud Office has locked away numerous executives who have asked for money on the basis of false promises. It may be worth the SFO making a visit to Antares Place. It is certainly worth Councillors with a deep understanding of sport (Quax and Walker) looking into this potential funding fiasco.

I would be the first to admit that this post is based on rumour and gossip. It has to be that way. Swimming New Zealand seems incapable of telling the membership what is happening to the sport. It will be interesting to read their spin. It should make fertile ground for further Swimwatch comment.

Fourth Estate Or Miskimmin Spin Agent?

December 15th, 2014

By David

For the second weekend in succession the Herald on Sunday has published a “feel-good” public relations hand-out on behalf of Sport New Zealand. Both the PR communiqués were written by Michael Burgess, a football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday. Last week’s story contained so many factual errors that I wrote the Swimwatch story “Figures Can’t Lie But Liars Can Figure”. I also forwarded a copy to Michael Burgess hoping it would alert him to the dangers of accepting the spin, verging on lies, that originate from Sport New Zealand.

Clearly he did not read my story properly or did not understand its message. This is his email reply.

Hi David, Thanks for your email – not sure if you meant to send it to me but you make some interesting points. The stats are impressive from 1984-1996… And swimming has to be under pressure, though Boyle is keeping them afloat. Regards Michael

Well the story did go to the right place but its point was clearly lost. This week Michael Burgess has written, and the Herald on Sunday has published, a second round of Sport New Zealand PR spin. The new Burgess story begins with the line “if imitation is indeed the best form of flattery”. No, the best form of flattery is conning a national newspaper into publishing your corporate PR spin without checking the facts or investigating the context. For the Herald on Sunday to fail this most basic duty of good journalism twice in two weeks, and after being warned, is professionally careless.

But let’s look more closely at their second story titled “What are we doing right?”

Sport New Zealand spin doctor, Alex Baumann, convinced the Herald on Sunday that, “something special is brewing here and other countries want to know the recipe. Until 2012, we were under the radar to a degree,” HPSNZ chief executive Alex Baumann said. “We were known for great achievements but London [13 medals, including six golds] took things to a new level.”

But did it? New Zealand has won thirteen medals before at an Olympic Games. At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul New Zealand won thirteen medals in five sports – sailing, canoeing, equestrian, rowing, and swimming. In London New Zealand also won thirteen medals; this time in six sports – rowing, sailing, athletics, canoeing, cycling and equestrian. And so Baumann’s spin that, “London” (with 13 medals) “took things to a new level” simply isn’t true. So why, without analysis or research, did the Herald on Sunday publish Sport New Zealand’s propaganda? A week ago we warned them – if the information comes from Sport New Zealand check it before you put it in your newspaper.

But what about the gold medal tally. Baumann is reported as saying that the six gold medals in London also “took things to a new level”. And that’s really, really not true. In the 1984 Olympic Games New Zealand won eight gold medals in four sports – canoeing, equestrian, sailing and rowing. Baumann’s “new level” in London was in fact six gold medals; two less than in 1984. The London gold medals were won in five sports – rowing, athletics, sailing, canoeing and cycling. And so, six gold medals is not a “new level”. It is 25% less than New Zealand won in 1984, before there was a Sport New Zealand or a Peter Miskimmin handing out state donations. So why, without analysis or research, did the Herald on Sunday publish Sport New Zealand’s propaganda? A week ago we warned them – if the information comes from Sport New Zealand check it before you put it in your newspaper.

Sport New Zealand and Baumann are desperate to sell the argument that Olympic sport in New Zealand is doing better than ever as a result of the government’s millions; that New Zealand’s brand of sporting socialism works best. It will be a hard sell. Why? Because it’s not true.

The sport that has followed the centralised, “focussed” policy, promoted by Baumann, longest is swimming. And just look at the resulting shambles. SwimVortex, one of the world’s most respected swimming websites, reported Lauren Boyle’s world record being broken by Mireia Belmonte with the following comment, “The standard had stood at 15:22.68 to part-time training partner this season past, New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle, currently training in Australia while her country attempts to find a solution to a crisis of management.”

Over the last 18 months, HPSNZ may have “hosted delegations from seven countries, including Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan.” That says nothing about the conclusions the delegates reached as a result of their visits. Perhaps they too detected a “crisis of management.” I bet the Dutch delegation was never taken anywhere near the government’s Millennium swim school. Or at least I hope it wasn’t.

What an embarrassment. On one hand we have New Zealand – one of the worst national swim schools in the world; a swimming program that can’t hold on to a decent swimmer no matter how much the state pays; a program as unmanned and abandoned as the Marie Celeste. Baumann would need to bus in a rent-a-crowd to sell the New Zealand swimming program. Last week at the Doha World Championships our best swimmers decided they weren’t fit enough to attend and the two that did, failed to make a final.

And on the other hand a delegation from Holland. Their swim team won two gold, one silver and one bronze at the London Games, two gold in Beijing, two gold, three silver and two bronze in Athens and five gold, one silver and two bronze in Sydney. In Doha the Dutch woman’s team won twelve medals, five of which were gold, and set three world records.

Given those results can you imagine the sheer blind arrogant stupidity of Baumann’s next comment?

“But how open can New Zealand afford to be? Some countries are notorious for acquiring information and then overtaking their rivals so New Zealand needs to be cautious. “We have to be careful what we give away,” Baumann said. “Anything on the innovation side is not something we would share because that is a competitive advantage for us. We believe in sharing information but it has to be a win-win situation.”

I’m sure the delegation from Holland returned to Amsterdam trembling with fear that New Zealand was about to produce a swim team capable of upsetting Veldhuis, Kromowidjojo and Heemskerk. Clearly the whole idea is ridiculous. So why, without analysis or research, did the Herald on Sunday publish Sport New Zealand’s propaganda? A week ago we warned them – if the information comes from Sport New Zealand check it before you put it in your newspaper.

 

Swimwatch Did Warn You…

December 13th, 2014

By David

Today Sport New Zealand announced the amount of money they will give the Swimming New Zealand high performance program. The Millennium swim school is going to cost us all $1.4 million per year for two years. Someone called Mike Govern from High Performance Sport New Zealand said, “I think Swimming New Zealand would be the first to agree that their performances through 2014 weren’t at the level that we were collectively hoping for. They have got a reduction.”

The basic premise of that comment is rubbish. Swimming New Zealand has never acknowledged any corporate fault for the embarrassment of 2014. Instead Villanueva has been quick to blame everyone wearing a pair of togs for the failings of his plan. Swimwatch ran a story on that very subject. There is no evidence that Layton, Renford or Villanueva have learned anything from the fiasco of 2014. As has always been the case with Swimming New Zealand – it’s all about jam tomorrow. Just keep the funds coming and in four years or eight years we will have a bucket full of gold medals. Renford is already softening us up. This is what he said today, “An important aspect of this for us is that it will also allow us to integrate our key 2020 Olympic prospects into the process. Swimmers aiming for medals in Tokyo need to be actively introduced to the Olympic program for 2016 as it takes two Olympic cycles to develop an Olympic athlete.”

He makes me sick. There is no evidence to support the view that, “it takes two Olympic cycles to develop an Olympic athlete.” It is certainly true that many Olympic Gold Medals are won by swimmers in their second or even third Olympic Games. However first time gold medalists are not as uncommon as Renford would have us believe. For example, in London ten Olympic Gold medals were won by swimmers at their first Olympic Games. Everything Swimming New Zealand says needs to be checked. Renford’s argument has more to do with securing our money for another four years than with the reality of life in a swimming pool.

Mike Govern then announced severely, “They have got a reduction.” The clear implication of this is that Sport New Zealand is a tough guardian of the public purse. Sports are expected to perform or their funding will vanish. In the case of swimming that’s just not true. Miskimmin and Baumann are personally invested in the future of swimming – up to their eye balls, they are committed. Swimming New Zealand is locked into Miskimmin’s centralist policy. Swimming New Zealand has a Miskimmin Board and a Miskimmin management team. If Swimming New Zealand fails Miskimmin and Baumann fail. And they will pay whatever it takes to avoid that happening.

So what does Miskimmin do? True to his political breeding, and to give the right impression, he skims off a few punishment dollars. But the loss of $k100 is window dressing. Swimming has secured a new two years funding package that guarantees the disaster of swimming’s last ten years will roll on uninterrupted. $1.4 million each year for the next two years is swimming’s reward for being a loyal Miskimmin subject. As a punishment the reduced funding provided to swimming is nothing more than a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

A grant of $1.4m means poor performance and bad behavior has been rewarded. Renford acknowledged that when he was reported as saying, “We have been on a year-to-year basis currently, so to have surety of funding through to the 2016 Rio Olympics is important for us.” He’s right. By funding swimming for two years, Miskimmin’s donation to swimming has actually improved. The decision about funding swimming has nothing to do with performance. If it did swimming would be paying us. The truth is that swimming has been rewarded for its obedience. Funding swimming in New Zealand is about applying and supporting Miskimmin’s personal agenda. Performance is not the issue. Obey and be rewarded is the lesson.

Baumann confirmed this truth when he spoke about the sport of triathlon, “Triathlon,” he said, “is the right structure and is moving in the right direction, they have centralised and gone from a two to eight-year plan. They have a good high performance director and coaches in place. Even though they didn’t reach all their key performance indicators, there is still potential. They just need to get more athletes in their system.”

So there you have it – right from the horse’s mouth. Comply with Miskimmin’s structure, approve his authoritarian constitution, centralize (socialize) the means of production distribution and exchange, appoint bureaucrats that have Miskimmin’s blessing and even if you bomb at Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacific Games and World Championships; even if your athletes couldn’t beat an egg, money will not be a problem.

Oh, and don’t you just love Baumann’s last sentence – “They just need to get more athletes in their system.” Is that the same as saying that the best way to ensure success is to throw “more athletes” into the grinder? One of them is bound to survive. In American swimming this coaching philosophy is called, “Eggs against the wall coaching”. Throw enough eggs at a wall and one will hit the wall and fall to the ground without breaking. That egg is your Olympic champion. Beware New Zealand parents. It could be that the guy in charge of swimming’s Millennium swim school sees your child as just another egg.

Perhaps we should leave the last words on this sorry subject to Sport New Zealand’s talkative swimming expert, Mike Govern. “He said he believed the true potential of swimming had not been “fully realized in New Zealand”. There’s some challenges in the sport but we are working closely and openly with Swimming New Zealand to assist them in resolving those challenges. We are going to be monitoring their progress through the course of 2015.”

I wonder what he means by “some challenges in the sport”. Is that Lauren Boyle and Matthew Stanley disappearing to Australia? Is that a shocking set of annual accounts? Is that a Millennium swim school with no swimmers? Just what are these “challenges”?

Govern promises the challenges are being dealt with openly. Open to who I wonder? Certainly not “open” to the membership of Swimming New Zealand. There is no chance of “open” anything while the Miskimmin gang is in charge. Govern’s comment is meaningless flannel. Just as meaningless as the thought that Swimming New Zealand has had a funding cut.

 

Figures Can’t Lie But Liars Can Figure

December 9th, 2014

By David

The Sunday Herald this week reported on a scheme hatched up by Sport New Zealand (SNZ) to socialise private funding of New Zealand sport. With politburo efficiency SNZ already control the government’s investment in New Zealand sport. And now Miskimmin wants to get his sticky fingers on funds generated by a free enterprise economy. Wouldn’t it be ironic to see millions of dollars earned in a free enterprise economy given to the country’s leading Leninist autocrat to pursue his centralized, socialist dogma. How New Zealand’s centre right National government can bear the paradox of all that is beyond belief.

Miskimmin’s latest scheme for New Zealand sport is explained as follows:

“Sir Michael Fay and the first America’s Cup ventures and Sir Colin Giltrap with motorsport and sailing to Sir Owen Glenn in hockey and Sir David Levene supporting Lydia Ko – but the structured, unified approach certainly is” new.

I can only hope that Sir Michael Fay, Sir Colin Giltrap, Sir Owen Glenn and Sir David Levene recognize the phrase, “structured, unified approach” for the socialist creed that it most certainly is. These men earned their money by investing in a free enterprise economy. They have supported sport in the same way. I would think they are too smart to be sucked into a SNZ soviet style sporting scam.

But what I really find obscene is the dishonesty of the SNZ argument used to promote their cause. Here is a long extract from the Sunday Herald report.

“A joint venture between the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Sport New Zealand will target private investment from some of the most successful and wealthy individuals in this country and around the world to help fund high-performance sport

“There are plenty of people who want to do big things for New Zealand.” says Sport New Zealand chief executive Peter Miskimmin. “In sport, we can say we are world-leading.

It’s well recognised that New Zealand’s performances – and incremental improvement – over the past 12 years at Olympic level have been staggering. From four in Sydney in 2000 to 13 in London two years ago, total medals have increased more than 300 per cent. That amount also includes a 600 per cent increase in gold medals over the same period.

“People around the world are noticing,” says Miskimmin. “Especially with the colour of our medals and our depth of sports. Ours were spread across six sports.”

The improvement has come off the back of a sharp increase in government funding of sport, especially at elite level. In 2002, direct investment in the high-performance programmes for the six targeted sports was $2.3 million. By 2013, that figure had increased to $23.1 million.

“The system is working extremely well,” says Miskimmin. “We do an incredible job for the amount of money that comes in. There’s no debate about that and we have one of the most efficient high-performance systems in the world.”

So what do you make of all that. I am sure that Miskimmin wants you to believe that as a direct result of the government’s money increasing from $2.3 million to $23.1 million the medals, won by New Zealand athletes between Sydney in 2000 and London in 2012, have increased by 300 per cent and the number of gold medals has increased by 600 per cent – more money to Miskimmin equals more medals; from 4 in Sydney to 13 in London, simple really.

But is it really that simple? Is that really what has happened? Is this the full truth or is it Miskimmin spin? Well, as with most of the stuff coming out of SNZ there is another side to the Miskimmin account. Here is a table that shows you the medals won at the four Olympic Games funded by Miskimmin’s socialist millions.

Games

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

2000 Sydney

1

0

3

4

2004 Athens

3

2

0

5

2008 Beijing

3

2

4

9

2012 London

6

2

5

13

Total

12

6

12

31

So far all that seems to support Miskimmins argument – 4 medals in 2000, 13 in 2012, 1 gold medal in 2000, 6 in 2012. Perhaps the government’s $23.1 million has been well spent. I’m sure that’s what Miskimmin wants New Zealand to believe. But is there more? Well, yes there is.

This next table shows you the medals won by New Zealand athletes in the four Olympic Games before there was a Miskimmin, before Whole of Sport plans, before the centralized delivery of sport, before Miskimmin assumed control of New Zealand sport.

Games

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

1984 Los Angeles

8

1

2

11

1988 Seoul

3

2

8

13

1992 Barcelona

1

4

5

10

1996 Atlanta

3

2

1

6

Total

15

9

16

40

Would you believe it – in the four Olympic Games before Miskimmin’s money; when private enterprise ruled sport, New Zealand athletes won 29% more medals (40 to 31) and 25% more gold medals (15 to 12)? The figures suggest that the government’s money has bought us nothing. Certainly Miskimmin’s argument is in tatters. His spin is without substance.

Miskimmin also argues that the number of successful sports has increased during his reign. But is this true? The table below shows the number of sports that won medals during Miskimmin’s four Olympic Games and the number of winning sports in the four Olympic Games before Miskimmin.

Games

Sports

No. Sports

1984 to 1996

Canoeing, Equestrian, Sailing, Rowing, Boxing, Swimming, Athletics

7

2000 – 2012

Rowing, Equestrian, Sailing, Cycling, Triathlon, Canoeing, Athletics

7

Well, there you go – no change. In fact the winning sports have stayed remarkably the same pre and during Miskimmin. In the most recent four Olympic Games triathlon has been added and surprise, surprise swimming has vanished into oblivion. Swimming, the sport with the longest tradition of centralised delivery has won nothing all through the period of Miskimmin’s millions.

Equally sad as the litany of Miskimmin spin is the failure of main stream media to investigate what they are being told. There appears to be a culture in New Zealand that if Miskimmin says it – it will be published. That’s sad and bad. Our research clearly shows that if it comes from Miskimmin’s desk it needs to be checked and checked again. Main stream media need to determine – are they being told the truth or is the tale just another part of Miskimmin’s agenda. I think we have just established the motive for this story.