They Really Are Shameless

By David

I have no idea how many Swimwatch readers have been following the Kim Dotcom case. The New Zealand spying agency – for American readers that’s a sort of rowboat version of the American CIA battleship – has been illegally collecting information on a multimillionaire resident called Kim Dotcom. The fact that spying on New Zealand citizens and residents is completely illegal was of no consequence to this bunch of crooks. They clearly held the view that because they were government spies they were above the law. All New Zealanders should be pleased that the spies have been caught out and are getting their bottoms smacked for cheating on their country.

Lord Acton first used the phrase, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And he was right. There is no excuse for New Zealand’s disgraceful treatment of Kim Dotcom. All the charges brought against him should be dropped immediately. He should be paid several million in compensation, have his legal bill refunded and left to live a quiet life in the New Zealand he chose for that very purpose.

For the last two years Swimming New Zealand displayed the behaviour of the national security service. Minutes of meetings were doctored, directors extended their terms beyond constitutional limits and the threat of money was used to alter the democratic vote of the Board. It was terrible. Finally a coalition of swimming regions saw the need for change and used their constitutional power to demand reform. Unfortunately the power brokers of New Zealand sport saw the demand for change as an opportunity to impose their control. And that’s what they did. A new constitution was imposed using both organizational fatigue and a “take it all or leave it all threat”. Power was centralized in a stunning example of socialist control. Miskimmin from Sport New Zealand and Baumann from High Performance Sport New Zealand are now in full control. The rule of swimming in New Zealand resides in Wellington.

The manner of their ascent to power provides little comfort that these two will exercise their authority properly. Leopards do not change their spots. However in the spirit of fair play many of us have assumed a wait and see stance. Well, we did not have to wait long.

Yesterday Swimming New Zealand sent out a memo to the clubs and the regions. Here is what it said.

Pool Configuration.

This year’s SC Championships will be run in the deep end of the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, with warm up/down at the shallow end of the pool. Special thanks must go to Swimming Wellington, Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre and the Wellington City Council for making this possible. With the different setup, make sure you are familiar with the new setup prior to the championship starting.

Would you believe it – special thanks must go to Swimming Wellington, Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre and the Wellington City Council for making this possible. Actually the special thanks to the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre and the Wellington City Council is probably fair enough. They have spent a small fortune getting the starting blocks and the electronics ready for the change of end.

But Swimming Wellington and Swimming New Zealand; what’s all that about? Six months ago wasn’t it those two clones that took my $50 protest fee and told me the pool was perfect the way it was? Wasn’t it their referee and their Jury of Appeal who dismissed my protest with half a dozen unsigned words scribbled with a blunt pencil? Wasn’t it the acting CEO of Swimming New Zealand, Sue Suckling, who gave me a verbal water-boarding, questioning my motives for protesting the failings of the Kilbirnie Pool?

Yes it was all those things. Would the Kilbirnie Pool have been changed if David Wright, West Auckland Aquatics and Auckland Swimming hadn’t lodged a protest six months ago. Of course it would not have been changed. For twenty years the people running Swimming Wellington and Swimming New Zealand had watched their swimmers dive into a dangerous pool that did not comply with FINA rules.

Swimming New Zealand’s press release is all the old spin on the truth back again. Mike Byrne and Sue Suckling appear to have that skill in common. Are they incapable of telling the truth? Why couldn’t their story say that following a protest lodged at the Age Group Championships it had been decided to alter the pool? Why couldn’t they offer to refund my $50? The actions of Swimming New Zealand and Wellington Swimming since the protest confirm beyond the slightest doubt that the protest was solid gold. The officials who dismissed it were wrong and their error should be corrected.

It won’t happen of course and that’s sad. It would have been fantastic to write a good news story about the new regime at Swimming New Zealand; a story of honesty, integrity and character. Instead it’s the same old, same old and I hate it. I hate it because from that rotten foundation potential New Zealand champions will struggle to beat the world. Kim Dotcom and Lord Acton understand exactly how I feel.