Swimming New Zealand Annual General Meeting


Be A Lion – Ask The Tough Questions

This Sunday, 29/9/19, the Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held. If ever there was an occasion for the delegates to exercise their duty of oversight, this is it. After all, why are delegates at the meeting? What is their function? Well, one of their functions is to examine the performance of the six Board members. Have the affairs of the organisation been honestly and properly managed through the past 12 months? Is there anything in the performance of SNZ that is of concern? Is yet another drop in membership the product of management shortcomings? Is action being taken to address poor international results?

BUT on this occasion there is one item in SNZ’s Annual Report that demands the attention of every delegate in the room. This year’s accounts include a contingency amount of $100,000 to pay for legal fees in 2020. The reason this Board is planning to spend a huge sum on legal fees needs to be examined in detail. Proper oversight demands this amount is subject to the closest scrutiny.

Questions that must be asked are:

  1. What is the Board planning to spend $100,000 paying for? The answer is on legal fees paid to fight my application for a Report into complaints about my coaching.
  2. Is the $100,000 allowance set aside enough? No way in the world. The legal fees cost will be in the order of $100,000. But if I am awarded anything in damages the amount will be well in excess of that figure. The Tribunal hearing alone is set to take a week. $100,000 is not even close.
  3. Is spending 3% of the organisation’s income on legal fees justified? Absolutely not. If SNZ had handed over the Report four years ago any fallout would have been long gone at absolutely zero cost. $100,000 would have been available to pay for swimmers to attend a World Championship with $20,000 in change.
  4. What are SNZ so set on hiding in the Report? It can’t be the identity of the complainants or the Report’s author, Michael Marris. Everyone knows Susan Turner and Nikki Johns made the complaints. Hiding their identity when both of them rush to announce their involvement in Stuff, on Facebook and Instagram is a pointless exercise. Ask Cotterill if he can explain why he is hiding their identity from 15,000 SNZ members when Turner and Johns advertise themselves to 140,000 Stuff, Facebook and Instagram readers.
  5. Is there a way to settle this without making lawyers rich at the member’s expense? Yes of course. In four years SNZ has made no effort to negotiate a resolution. None at all. In my opinion it should still be settled “out of court”. Cotterill needs to be asked, at the AGM, why he hasn’t picked up the phone to talk about a solution. Why has spending the member’s money been a higher priority that reaching a solution?
  6. Is Cotterill wasting money in order to fight a well-known critic? Yes, and that’s as pathetic as it sounds.

So, there are five questions Chairman Cotterill needs to answer. Watch him duck and dive. Watch him avoid the issue. Hear him say things to the members like – because the case is before the Tribunal he can’t talk about it. Any excuse in order to avoid the problem. After all, he’s been talking at a 100kph to the media, why shouldn’t he talk to the members?

If he does try those tricks read him this statement.

I, David Alexander Wright, hereby give my approval for SNZ or any delegate to the AGM to discuss any aspect of the case and/or my involvement and/or the plan to spend $100,000 on a legal case at the AGM.

And so delegates, have a good meeting. Exercise your oversight duties well. I’m interested to hear how you get on. If you have a minute after the meeting send me an email to nzdaw@yahoo.co.nz.

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