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Board Report: 25 August 2013

Dear Clubbies,

This is my last Board report before standing down from the Board at the AGM.  I would like to thank everyone for their support over the last few years and offer my best wishes to the incoming Board. 

I'm looking forward to spending more time on the so we'll see you all at events over the summer.

Board Report: 25 August 2013 (Wellington)

Key points covered included:

Financials: Results for the month of July, the first month of our new financial years showed $1.31m in revenue against $0.44m expenditure leaving an operating surplus of $877,000, slightly ahead of budget.  Cash flow remained tight as expected as this time of year traditionally has little income.

The first instalment of the NZ Lotteries Grants Board funding was received in late August, which has now sorted out the cash position and sets the organization up for the season ahead.

We are very appreciative of the on-going support from NZLGB who this month has announced funding support that has increased $200,000 from last year.  $100,000 of this increase will go to SLSNR and is tagged to two key projects to be undertaken by them.  The other $100,000 of the increase is tagged to increased club grants which will go from $650,000 to $750,000.

Whilst only 1 month into the 2013/14 financial year, financial results so far are going in the right direction.  As reported in my last update, the reduced cost base of the organisation is starting to kick in and we are very focused on achieving $1m in operating surplus for the year in order to rebuild the much needed working capital base.

SLSNZ's Auditor, Munro Benge has released its Management Letter.  The letter contains the following as its general comment: "Firstly the year under review has shown a continuous improvement on the previous year.  In general terms, the policies and procedures that have been introduced have improved the controls of the Organisation."

The Letter notes a number of relatively minor administrative and system improvements, the most significant of which is making sure the leave balances of staff are monitored so large balances are not built up.  Whilst vastly improved from last year, the nature of the business with high levels of weekend work will mean this is a constant battle, but tighter controls will be implemented.  The Auditor's Management Letter is available to Club Chairs on request.

Water Safety NZ Report: WSNZ is in the process of consulting with its members in order to gain support for constitutional change at their AGM in October.  This changed constitution aligns with recommendations of the Martin Jenkins report.  Accordingly, WSNZ Chair (Sally Webb), Board member (Brendon Ward) and Chief Executive (Matt Claridge) presented to the Board meeting.

As previously reported to Club Chairs, the Board again endorsed its support for an aligned water safety sector under the leadership of WSNZ.  However, it reiterated its concern over the broad funding option outlined in the Martin Jenkins report that would have SLSNZ LGB funding directed via Sport NZ and dispersed via WSNZ to SLSNZ as per priorities decided by WSNZ. 

The Board also discussed with WSNZ its objective to become recognised by Government as an official essential rescue service with an associated programme to increase resources available to the sector in order to improve sustainability and outcomes of reduced drowning and injury rates. 

WSNZ and SLSNZ agreed that the recommended changes provide a significant opportunity for the sector.  Whilst the core members may not totally agree on the exact way to execute sector alignment, the proposed recommendations in the Martin Jenkins report offers very real and achievable roadmap for change that is supported by Government.  The Board will continue its engagement with Government Ministers and Senior Officials in this regard.

Northern update: The subcommittees of SLSNZ and SLSNR charged with progressing a more aligned and sustainable future for members were scheduled to meet on 29 August in Auckland and the Board discussed the objectives and agenda for that meeting.

The key items were SLSNR becoming an Associate Member of SLSNZ, the annual Service Level Agreement between the parties and alignment on the Martin Jenkins Water Safety report.

As an update on the meeting itself, both parties agreed it would be useful to use an independent mediator to facilitate the next phase of discussions and help reach agreement on the detail of how the future relationship will work.

Commercial update: the Board received an update on a number of commercial opportunities in progress or planned.  With the conservative approach to budgeting for the 2013/14 year, these opportunities have not been included in budgets so will create revenue upside.  Specific initiatives include the renewal of the partnership with OPSM, BP running a Charity Auction Fundraiser, Gilbert Steeden resigning their licensing agreement and KFC firming up their fundraising initiatives for the year.

Grants: the grant application programme is a major focus for the organisation currently.  Work continues on building relationships with the main grant funders.  There is also focus on getting grant applications in earlier which the Board keeps a close eye on.  To date over 70% of the full year's grant income budget has been confirmed, but there is still $1m worth to be obtained.

Staffing update: Positions have now been filled for CDO Coromandel (Jacob Davies) and Regional Programmes and Services Manager for Southern (Scott Roberts).  Congratulations to them on their appointments.

With the resignation of Mark Weatherall, General Manager Club Development, the Senior Management Team has taken the time to assess the optimal staffing mix needed to deliver the outcomes required of the organisation moving forward.  It has been decided to not replace the position.  Regional Managers will now report directly to the Chief Executive.  Funds released as a result of not replacing the position will be targeted at resourcing other parts of the organisation as required.

Andy Kent, Life Saving Manager, has accepted a role with Surf Life Saving Australia based in Sydney.  Those that know Andy will appreciate the enormous contribution he has made to Surf Life Saving in New Zealand.  Over many years with the movement he has worked for both SLSNR and SLSNZ.  We wish him well for his new posting.  A search for a replacement for Andy has begun.

The Board appreciated both Mark and Andy's attendance at the Board meeting to share their views on the organisation and have the chance to thank them in person for their work over the years.

Annual General Meeting, Club Chairs Strategy workshop and Awards of Excellence

The programme for Saturday 21 September is as follows:


Start time

Finish time

Club Chairs Strategy Workshop

10.00am arrival for a 10.30am start



3.30pm arrival for a 4.00pm start


SLSNZ Awards of Excellence

5.45pm arrival for a 6.30pm start


The events will be held Amora Hotel in Wellington.

The information packs sent to Clubs on 29 August included:

  • AGM Agenda and Motion list.
  • 2012 AGM and SGM Minutes.
  • Report of the Board Appointments Panel.
  • Profiles of the new 'Appointed' Board Members.
  • Board Candidates Booklet with details from the three candidates standing for the two Elected Board member vacancies.
  • President Candidates Booklet with details from the one candidate standing for the election.
  • 2012/13 Audited Annual SLSNZ Financial Statements.
  • Commentary on the 2012/13 Financial Statements.
  • Notice of Alternative Delegate form, if a club has to change their AGM delegate for any reason.
  • AGM Postal and Electronic Voting form for any clubs wanting to vote but not wanting to attend the AGM or appoint a proxy.
  • AGM Proxy Appointment form for any clubs wanting to be represented by a proxy to vote on their behalf at the AGM.

Clubs have been sending in the agenda items for the Chairs Strategy Workshop and this has also been circulated.

New Board Members: As an aside, the Board Appointments Panel was recently delighted to be able to announce the appointment of the following new Board members for SLSNZ:

  • 'Appointed' Board Member - Joe Pope
  • 'Independent Appointed' Board Members - Graham Crombie and Trevor Taylor

For the information of members, below is a brief profile of each of them:

Joe Pope

  • An extensive career in business in Australasia with companies such as Feltex, Wilson Distillers and AC Neilsen.
  • Former CEO of the NZ Petrochemical Company.
  • Former CEO of NZ Apple & Pear Board and ENZA.
  • A wide range of previous and current directorships including NZ Trade Development Board, Pacific Basin Economic Council, NZ Symphony Orchestra, Lambton Harbour Management, Dow Group, Rabobank Australasia Advisory Board, Wellington Rugby Union, Frucor Holdings and the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of NZ.
  • Former Trustee of the Victoria University Foundation and Children's Starship Hospital Telethon.
  • Previous member of the Prime Ministers Enterprise Council, Agriculture Strategy Development Council and the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Producer Board Reform.
  • Accredited Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
  • Office of the NZ Order of Merit for services to business.
  • Based in Wellington.

Graham Crombie

  • An extensive career in accountancy and professional services, having been in public practice since 1982.
  • A partner in Polson Higgs for 16 years and ten years as CEO.
  • Now operating his own consulting company.
  • Extensive governance experience including current or past directorships of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants, Dunedin City Holdings Ltd, Otago Museum Trust, Otago Polytechnic and South Link Health.
  • Fellow of the Chartered Accountants College of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants.
  • Accredited Member of the Institute of Directors.
  • Based in Dunedin.

Trevor Taylor

  • Current CEO of the Outward Bound Trust of NZ, having joined them in 2001.
  • Previous management experience with NZ Translation Centre, ECNZ, Fletcher Challenge Petroleum, Southern Petroleum and the Petroleum Corporation of NZ.
  • Extensive governance experience including NZ Olympic Committee, Life Flight Trust, Wellington Free Ambulance, Outward Bound International, L&M Energy, Titan Group, Petroleum Exploration Association of NZ and Eastland Infrastructure.
  • Previous member of the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority.
  • Member of the Institute of Directors and NZ College of Chartered Accountants.
  • Based in Wellington.

I am sure you will join me in welcoming them to the Surf Life Saving movement.

Balanced Scorecard reporting: The Board has been working on the concept of a balanced scorecard reporting framework.  The Chief Executive presented a paper outlining the draft template resulting from this work.

In 2012/13 a series of Dashboard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were developed to measure business performance with a subset of these used to assess the performance of the Chief Executive.

In addition to updating the 2012/13 report, a set of Dashboard KPIs have been developed to assess the health of the wider Surf Life Saving movement, not just the SLSNZ entity.

National Office: the last day in Surf House will be Friday 27 September.  At the end of that day the main server will be relocated to the new site.  Everything should be fully operational in the new office on Monday 30 September.  The aim is for minimal disruption to Club support during the move but your patience with any unexpected complications will be appreciated.

Communications network upgrade: the team is well on the way to finalising site permissions for the trial sites.  Bay of Plenty will be the first trial region with site locations in Pauanui, Whangamata and Mount Drury.  The network design phase in this region has now begun.  The Wellington trial location will follow once site permissions are granted with the Mount Victoria site being an integral component of this network.

The National Sport Committee: the Board received a report from the Sport Manager and has received minutes from the Committee's meeting held on 6 August.  Feedback from consultation on the NZ Provincial Surf Challenge has been received and circulated.  It will be a disappointment to many that the event will not proceed again this year.  The National Sport Committee drove the process with feedback from Regional and Local Sports Committees.  With support from only 4 from 8 of provincial areas, further work is clearly required to shape an event that will meet acceptable requirements.

Over 120 expressions of interest were received from officials as a result of the on-line call for Surf Officials for the coming season.  The process has now begun for appointing officials for national events with many of the Event Referees having already been confirmed.

The logistical planning and preparation has begun on the Competitive Surf Coach course, tentatively scheduled for 2-3 November in the Tauranga region.

In the area of High Performance, the International Surf Rescue Challenge event planning has been keeping the Team Management busy.  This event is set to take place in Japan from the 19 - 22 September.  Planning has begun on the Open team attending the German Cup with a coach and six athletes attending. This event is scheduled for 21-24 November 2013.

The National Lifesaving Committee: is due to meet again in early September. The draft policy on how international lifeguarding awards are recognized will be provided to the meeting. 

Four applications were received for the position of Medical Director the selection process now underway.

The update of the Surf Lifeguard Award manual, workbook and reprint has been completed.  Currently under review is the Instructors Manual.  The Examiners Manual and exams will be upgraded to include CPR changes recommended from the NZ Resuscitation Council.  Preparation is being done for a Facilitators and Peer Support training courses, and internal guidelines for admin process to secure the integrity of the PAM database.

Next meeting

Will be held on Sunday 20 October in Wellington.  One of the aims of initial meetings will be for the Board to select a new Chair, Deputy Chair and appointments to governance subcommittees such as Audit and Risk. 

Yours in surf


Michael Bassett-Foss
Surf Life Saving New Zealand