Legal Peril

For several weeks we have used the pages of Swimwatch to discuss judicial investigations being conducted into the behaviour of Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) and the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC). Several thousand words have been written on the detail of each case. And that is a problem. It means the cases get mixed up and merge together – confusion reigns. It is difficult to distinguish the wood for the trees. In order to provide some clarity therefore this post will summarise each investigation.

Investigation One –The Marris Report

This refers to a complaint that was made about my coaching. SNZ saw it as a chance to get rid of David Wright. They paid a hefty sum to employ a criminal psychotherapist, Michael Marris, to investigate. Before agreeing to participate in the investigation I asked SNZ for an assurance I would be supplied with a copy of the Marris Report. SNZ promised this would be the case. But they lied.

When the report was completed I asked for my copy, Steve Johns sent me a flat refusal. I have little doubt that the report is extremely critical of those who made the complaint and SNZ for the way the complaint was handled. The last thing SNZ wanted was for me to get a copy of that sort of information.

And so I complained to the Privacy Commissioner. The Commissioner is currently considering how much of the Marris Report I am entitled to read. SNZ has employed a lawyer to contest the release of any information from the report. Whatever it says must be bad because SNZ have taken the position that nothing, not one word, in the report should be released. But the Commissioner will decide I expect sometime during April.

If the Commissioner decides to release the report, even in a redacted form, I suspect SNZ will continue to deny me access. Courage and honesty are not words that spring to mind when you think of SNZ. If that happens I will file a case with the Human Rights Tribunal who can order SNZ to comply and can levy fines and compensation. I intend to ask for both.

Investigation Two – Refugee Application

Eyad Masoud’s entry into New Zealand as a refugee was approved by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) in February 2018. The better facilities and training in New Zealand meant his swimming improved quickly. He now has best short course times as shown in table below.

Event Best SC Time
50 Free 23.64
100 Free 51.71
200 Free 2:01.14
50 Breast 30.12
50 Fly 25.54
100 Fly 57.61
100 IM 1:00.53

The freestyle 50 and 100 times arguably make Eyad the fastest refugee in the world. He decided to apply to join the International Olympic Committee’s refugee team. The procedure required Eyad to complete an Application Form and have it approved as accurate by SNZ and the NZOC and then sent on to the IOC.

The NZOC and SNZ confirmed the accuracy of the Application but refused to send it on to the IOC. They said Eyad was not fast enough to swim for New Zealand. Of course that had nothing to do with swimming in the refugee team. No refugee in the world is fast enough to swim in the New Zealand national team.  I applied to the Human Rights Commission for arbitration. Both SNZ and the NZOC refused to participate in arbitration.

I have now applied to the Human Rights Tribunal for the case to be considered by the Court. I am waiting to hear whether the Tribunal will accept the case. The Tribunal has the power to order SNZ and the NZOC to reconsider Eyad’s Application.

Three days ago I began a petition asking SNZ and the NZOC to reconsider their decision to reject Eyad’s application.  As at 10.30 tonight 518 swimming people around the world thought the cause was sufficiently important to sign their name to the petition. Thank you. I am certain that the New Zealand Minister of Sport, the Prime Minister, the IOC, the IOC Athletes Commission, the FINA Athletes Commission, Global Athletes and the main stream media here and overseas will eventually find that level of support of great interest.

If you have a minute here is the link to the petition. Your help would be deeply appreciated.

Investigation Three – Monopoly Control

This investigation is yet to begin. I anticipate we will have it underway by the end of 2019. The investigation is a copy of a legal challenge currently before the court in the United States. The case will argue that the SNZ Constitution violates New Zealand’s anti-monopoly laws. The Constitution says only SNZ can control competitive swimming in New Zealand. That is illegal. That is the case we will put to the court. We want to see a sport where any club or organization can put on a meet; where any swimmer can compete anywhere in the world against anybody without being held hostage by SNZ.  For too long SNZ has basked in their monopoly power. It is time for a change and that is what I will set out to achieve – the court willing.


So that in less than 1000 words is a summary of what’s on the agenda for 2019. I will of course let you know how each investigation progresses – win or lose.

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