Try This For An Idea

The last Swimwatch post highlighted the shameful fact that less than 10% of Swimming New Zealand’s income gets spent on swimmers. Bureaucrats in Antares Place pay themselves handsomely and build an ever bigger empire; an empire that sucks all the available money into Cotterill’s swamp.

The post argued that the money paid to swimmers should increase from 9% to 51%. What this means is that the current spending, provided to swimmers, of $343,274 needs to increase to $1,794,000 to meet the 51% target. Impossible I hear you say. But not at all. Here is how it could be done.

In recent years Cotterill has managed the business by pursuing the socialist doctrine of centralising every activity possible. Training, collecting membership fees, entering meets, learn to swim education and reporting results are just a few of the activities Cotterill’s empire has taken over. That process should be reversed. Many private enterprise operators would love to perform those functions. And private enterprise does them better. For example “Take Your Marks” does a super job of reporting results. There is no call for Swimming New Zealand to repeat that function. Swimming New Zealand should contract out as many functions as possible to private enterprise operators and apply the money saved to paying swimmers.

The table below is one idea of how that could be done. The first two columns show the current allocation of money by each category reported in the Swimming New Zealand Annual Accounts. The second two columns show the allocation of money if the organisation was restructured. A commentary below the table explains the changes.

Current Allocation Proposed Allocation
Business Swimmer Business Swimmer
Accountancy Fees 561 0 1000 0
Administration 548751 0 360000 190000
Audit Fees 13,225 13225 0 10000 3000
Consultation / Communication / Marketing 22017 0 0 22000
Depreciation 50720 0 50000 0
Events 709554 0 710000 0
Education 589133 0 0 590000
Governance 22746 0 11000 11000
High Performance Athlete / Coach Support 215126 215126 0 430000
High Performance International Team 483672 0 485000 0
High Performance Programmes / Other 380502 0 45000 335000
Legal Expenses 2400 0 2000 0
Loss on Disposal of Fixed Assets 11079 0 0 0
Awards Function 27180 0 0 27000
Motor Vehicle Lease 24197 0 0 25000
PEGS / PM Scholarship Expenses 0 128148 0 128000
Rent Expense 73609 0 51000 20000
Rewards Incentive Scheme 0 0 0 0
Total Expenses 3174472 343274 1725000 1781000
Percentages 90.3% 9.7% 49% 51%

Accountancy Fees:

The amount is small at $1000 and has been left as a business expense.


Because the functions performed by Swimming New Zealand are being contracted out to private operators the organisation will require far less staff and the staff retained will not be paid at the current level.

A staff cost of $350,000 and a saving of $200,000 has been shown in the proposed allocation. The new cost of $350,000 has been calculated as shown in the table below.

Position Comment Amount
Accounts Clerk Replaces Finance Manager 50,000
Secretary Replaces High Performance Operations Coordinator 30,000
Events Manager Pay Reduction 50,000
Chief Executive Officer Pay Reduction 100,000
Targeted Athlete & Coach Mgr. New position 100,000
Total Staff Costs   330,000

In addition to the direct staff costs, an additional $30,000 has been included to cover office costs and additional employment costs such as Kiwi Saver, ACC and the like. The positions of Head of Participation, Database & Administration Coordinator, Communications & Digital Coordinator, High Performance Logistics and Operations Manager and High Performance Coach Intern would no longer be required and would be made redundant.


A smaller Swimming New Zealand business should mean a smaller audit fee. We have shown a saving of $3,000 which has been allocated to the amount paid to the swimmers.

Consultation / Communication / Marketing:

Far too much money is spent on these trappings – for no benefit to the members. Certainly what has been spent has done nothing to improve the Swimming New Zealand corporate image. The spending has not worked and has been reallocated entirely to the funding of swimmers. The best form of marketing is to win a few swimming races and that is where the resources should be applied.


The depreciation charge would not change and has been allocated in full to the cost of the business.


Swimming New Zealand should continue to support the various National Championships. The current cost of $710,000 has been allocated as a cost of running the business. However Swimming New Zealand should do a better job of allocating the management of each championship to the Regions and should expect the Regions to meet many of the associated costs. The Regions should also collect and keep much of the income generated by these events. As far as possible everything to do with running the events should be contracted out to the Regions or to private event management companies.


The Moller Report recommended Swimming New Zealand get out of this activity. However it is the one recommendation that Cotterill has resisted, probably because it does not suit his socialist agenda. The whole Education sector should be sold or closed down. The money saved should be reallocated to the funds paid to swimmers. The ten staff involved should be transferred with the sale of the business or made redundant.


The business is very much smaller and will require less Board input. The cost of meetings should be halved. The saving has been reallocated to the funds paid to swimmers.

High Performance Athlete / Coach Support:

The high performance centralised training group and the Coaching Intern should be taken over by one of the Auckland clubs. North Shore would be the obvious choice. However there may be merit in encouraging competition by allowing Coast or United to take over this squad and the space it currently uses.

High Performance International Team:

I imagine this involves the costs associated with sending teams to various events. In the plan the full amount of $710,000 has continued to be allocated as a cost of the business.

High Performance Programmes / Other:

I am unsure what “other” includes. For this reason I have subjectively allocated $45,000 to the business and have assigned the balance of $335,000 to the funds paid to swimmers.

Legal Expenses:

After a few years of ridiculously high legal costs Cotterill has, at last, brought these under control. The current cost of $2,000 has been kept as a cost of the business.

Loss on Disposal of Fixed Assets:

No amount has been allocated to this cost item.  

Awards Function:

This is an unnecessary junket. Once again – if there is a market for the event, contract it out to a commercial operator. If no one wants it; if it has no commercial value, then stop the farce altogether. Its existence certainly does not accrue $27,000 of value to Swimming New Zealand. The money would be better spent elsewhere.

Motor Vehicle Lease:

Swimming New Zealand’s love of Mazda SUVs has, I am pleased to report, finally begun to wane. Their car park used to look like the central office of North Harbour Mazda. However $25,000 on motor cars is still far too much. No one in this business should have a company car. All leases should be terminated and the money allocated to the swimmer’s fund.

PEGS / PM Scholarship Expenses:

This is a swimmer’s payment and has continued to be treated in the same manner.

Rent Expense:

The business will now be smaller and will therefore require much less office space. It should be possible to negotiate a reduction of $20,000 on the current cost of $73,000. The savings have been allocated to the swimmer’s fund.

Rewards Incentive Scheme:

No money is budgeted for this category. This cost will be taken up and paid for from the distribution of funds from the money allocated to the swimmers.

Total Expenses:

So there we have it, $1,725,000 required to run the business and $1,781,000 reallocated to the swimmer’s fund – available to be paid to individual swimmers. That is an allocation of 49 / 51; an allocation that, at last, does mean the swimmer comes first.

So that’s how the money could be found. Tomorrow’s post will discuss how it should be spent.

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