Hi Everyone,

The December Board meeting was held in Wellington on Friday 13th December.  

In terms of the SLSNZ financial position attached are the regular SLSNZ Financial Reports for the first five months of 2019/20.  These show a Net Operating Surplus of $3.916 million, which is $419,000 ahead of budget.  This variance is largely due to timing, where income has been received earlier than budgeted.  A full explanation of the variances is in the attached Financial Summary Dashboard. 

As always, the profit at this time of year is not indicative or the year end result as we have yet to enter our big spending summer months.  More relevant is the latest forecast which has the full year Net Operating Surplus behind budgeted levels at $678,919 (budget is $742,831).  The $69k gap on the budget is being driven by grant revenue being lower than forecast.  While the result still looks healthy, there is a significant capital programme this year ($440,000) which uses up a lot of the Net Operating Surplus, so from a purely cash perspective things are still tight.

As well as the financials, the Board meeting covered a number of key topics, which I will summarise below:


As is usual at this time of year, the Board discussed options for the theme and structure of the annual Board Planning Workshop scheduled for 14th February to work on the 2020/21 Strategic Plan and beyond.  This is always an interesting session for the Board with the opportunity to really take a long term and high level view of the organisation and the needs of the surf life saving movement. Quite a lot of work has already been done on the 2020/21 Strategy so to really challenging our thinking and the pathways forward, most of the time will be focussed on what 2030 could look like for the surf life saving movement.

The Board also noted a report from management covering progress from the first six months of the 2019/20 Strategic Plan.

SLSNZ Foundation

The Board noted that a very generous $250,000 bequest had recently been received and would be added to the Foundation funds.

Government Funding

The Board was updated on progress being made on this project.  The Water Safety sector request (of which we are a part) was finalised and submitted for consideration by the Government as planned at the end of November.  The evaluation process will take some months, and will be interactive with questions that will need to be answered along the way.  If things go well then we should know the outcome before June.

Club Chairs Survey Results

The Board was also updated on the actions being taken to progress issues raised by Club Chairs in the 2019 survey.  It was good to see the range of actions being taken and Board expectations are that these will have made a difference before the survey is run again later in 2020.

SLSNZ Staffing

The Board noted that Chief Operating Officer Adam Wooler would be taking six months leave-without-pay from 1 February 2020 to oversee a family building project.  Eastern Region Manager Chris Emmett will be filling in for Adam over this time and other Eastern Region staff will be stepping up to backfill roles as a result of this.  With a small team it can be hard to provide staff with personal development opportunities, so this is a positive outcome from this situation.

Media Activity

The high level of positive media around surf life saving so far in the season was commended by the Board.  A lot of activities across traditional and social media are contributing to this.  One thing for clubs to watch is members making ‘fun’ content (such as Tik Tok videos) that if it gets into the public arena can portray the movement in a bad light.  A reminder to all your members about how fragile a positive brand image is would be timely and appreciated.

Health & Safety.

The serious injury report for the 2019/20 season YTD to date was noted.  Excluding national sports events and SLSNZ employees, there have been 17 reports of members needing first aid in the 2019/20 season recorded in the PAM database, which is up 41% the same time last year, but most of the increase was in minor injuries.  Of those 17, nine required further treatment by a doctor and one needed admitting to hospital.  These figures are at the same level as last year.  As it typical at this time of year, nine of the 10 serious injuries (90%) involved IRB’s.  The Board also noted that scientific research was underway with the Auckland University of Technology to better understand the forces causing these injuries and identify solutions.  These results clearly can’t come quickly enough.

National Honours & Awards Committee Appointments

The Board endorsed the re-appointment of Sheryl McLay (Eastern Region) and Joanne Hobson (Northern Region) for two year terms starting 1 January 2020 and thanked them for their ongoing contribution in this important area.

2020 AGM Timetable

The timetable for the 2020 was noted – the meeting will be held in Wellington on Saturday 19th September with formal notice of this going out to clubs in May.

Women in Surf Lifesaving Project

Following the success of the Wahine on Water project, a wider project investigating the barriers to women participating in all levels of surf life saving and coming up with ways to overcome these has commenced.  The Board fully supports this project and looks forward to their findings and recommendations.  The early stages of the project involve research into the current situation and developing a terms of reference/ workplan around that.  For example – how many of our current Club Chairs are female? – the answer to that is just 10 out of 74. 

And that is it for me for this month.  I hope you and your families had a great festive break - until my next update please stay safe and enjoy some great summer weather!

Yours in surf,

Brent Warner
Surf Life Saving New Zealand