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  • Writer's pictureBurnside Park Tennis

An Open Letter to the Canterbury Tennis Community

Updated: Sep 29, 2018

At this year’s upcoming Tennis Canterbury (TCRI) AGM on October 3rd, Burnside Park Tennis is moving to introduce a “vote-band” affiliation fee collection model to replace the current 6-Bands model. We are asking for all clubs to support it.

We think it is important for tennis in Canterbury to get this matter sorted. Burnside Park Tennis members voted unanimously at our AGM to promote this change.

Most of us know how difficult this affiliation fee-reform journey has been. TCRI has been determined to pursue reform but the process has been tortuous; lacking in consultation, at times misguided and error-ridden. It has also caused frustration and resentment.

As background, prior to 2015, TCRI collected fees based on per head membership numbers. It decided that was not helping to grow the game, so spent a considerable sum on a consultant’s report and determined levying clubs based on how many courts they had would help grow the game. That idea was not supported. It then proposed a mixed model. That was also rejected. Then, in 2017, it decided fee bands were the way to go, with clubs paying according to which of six membership band they were in. The bands were multiples of 120 members. Why just six bands? We're not sure, but the clubs voted it in for a trial period because:

· TCRI presented no alternatives

· TCRI would not allow other alternatives to be considered

· Members were promised an overall reduction in affiliation fees (as other users-pays charges were increased)

· Members were incorrectly told, if the motion was rejected TRCI would not be able to collect fees for 2017-2018

So, here we are, one year into the trial, and it is clear the 6-Band model hasn’t worked. The unfairness was so bad it initially forced TCRI to create exceptions to temporarily limit the cost for the smallest worst-affected clubs. Nevertheless St Martins disaffiliated and there are suggestions others are now considering doing the same.

Basically we don’t need another year of dis-function to show 6-Bands needs to be replaced. It is bad because it makes clubs pay for members that they don’t have.

The bands are also too big. They also discourage membership growth and under-reporting of membership. Clubs pay an extra $2000 every time they go up a band so a club nearing the top of a band may find a small increase in membership will immediately cost it another $2000. Likewise a club near the bottom of a band may find a small reduction in members will immediately save it $2000.

Not only that, once a club hits Band 6 its fees are capped at $12,000 regardless of how many more members it gets after that. This means 6-Bands helps bigger clubs. As an example, Ellesmere's $12,000 contribution doesn't even cover its share of Tennis New Zealand fees. Other big clubs also benefited disproportionately from 6-Bands, and would benefit even more if they were to merge; and all this at the expense of the smaller clubs.

Basically Burnside’s vote-band motion proposes more fairness. For Band One (from 0 to 25 members), no fee. Thereafter, for each subsequent complete band of 25 members, an additional fee of $612.50. Therefore your first 49 members are free and from then on you pay only for members you have. It requires no special exceptions or considerations.

It is great for tennis because:

· Small clubs get to participate for free

· No clubs benefit at the expense of others

· It significantly reduces any incentive manipulate the system by under-reporting membership numbers

· The smaller bands are fairer on clubs

· Vote bands align membership, affiliation fees and TCRI voting rights

· Vote bands encourage new clubs to affiliate and those clubs that have left to return

- TCRI and TNZ will still collect the same amount of revenue.

It has been suggested we should let a 2-year trial period play out, then review the 6-Band model. TCRI recommends waiting because Tennis New Zealand is reviewing how it collects its fees, and that may influence us. Burnside’s argument is, there is no benefit in waiting another year because whatever methodology TNZ settles on is irrelevant. If TNZ asks us for more or less money the vote-band fee can simply be adjusted accordingly.

To work out what your club will pay in 2018-19 under the “vote-band” model:

1. Divide your club’s membership by 25 (the vote-band).

2. Subtract 1 and round the answer down to a whole number

3. Multiply by $612.50 (the vote-band fee)

It is true a small number of (bigger) clubs will pay more under the vote-band model, but in asking for your support for this motion Burnside is asking to give thought to the interests of all clubs; not just the big ones.


The following table is based on 2017 club membership numbers and shows the impact of the vote-band model on clubs.

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