“That affiliation fees be set at the following rates for the year from 01 July 2018 to 30 June 2019; For Band one, from 0 to 25 Members inclusive, no fee, and thereafter, for each subsequent complete band of 25 members, an additional fee of $612.50. And, that these fees are inclusive of GST and any TNZ affiliation fees payable.”
Our motion was lost. This was our submission.
These have been difficult times as we try to balance a good relationship with the TCRI Board with our attempts to overturn a poorly-considered affiliation model many believe was foisted upon us last year.
Things never get better unless there’s change, but at the same time, change doesn’t always mean things get better. What a great example this is.
First, a little bit of context for those of us who may be new to all this.
About five years ago, someone on the Board decided we had a problem with the way affiliation fees are collected and it might be fixed (at least in part) by completely changing the way TCRI collects fees.
Back in those days, each club paid fees based on member registration. It was (and still is) a system used by the vast majority of sports organisations in New Zealand. No one really had a problem with it, except there was a feeling (no evidence, just a feeling) that some tennis clubs might be cheating by under-reporting their membership.
To cut a long story short, a consultant was employed. Ultimately his recommendation, to adopt a per court model, was rejected; but instead of going back to the model that worked, two years later we ended up with 6-bands, still based on counting members.
6-bands was voted in last year, helped very much by the fact the TCRI Board sweetened the deal by dropping the total fee take and increasing user-pays charges. The net result was an overall saving that could be passed on to clubs. TCRI also offered a fee freeze for two years as part of a two-year trial. That made it look as if the model was saving everyone money; but actually just two sub-Associations, with just 20% of the region’s members, received more than 40% of that net saving.
Another issue with the model is it is capped at Band 6, so after a club reaches 601 members it pays nothing more. No one on the Board seemed to have a problem with that… at least at the time anyway.
The 6-band model also means there is no longer a direct relationship between a club’s size, the amount it pays to TCRI, and the number of votes it gets.
What else is wrong with it? Well, we all know Ellesmere in Band 6 pays fees so low it contributes noting to Tennis New Zealand. But there are other stark examples of unfairness.
There are two clubs in Band 2, one at the top and one near the bottom of the band. They both pay $4,000, but one has 147 members and the other has 232 members, That’s nearly 60% more. The smaller club is therefore paying for about 90 members it doesn’t have. Some might say that a good incentive to grow, or maybe it’s an incentive to shrink so it drops to Band 1 where it immediately saves $2000.
The bigger club, on the other hand, is nearly at the top of Band 2 but if it gets just 8 more members it goes to Band 3 where, if it weren’t for the fee freeze, it would immediately pay $2000 more. The 6-band model is therefore encouraging the bigger club to stop growing, or maybe declare fewer members.
And finally, the smaller club gets just 5 votes at this AGM. The bigger club has 9 votes. And yet they both pay the same affiliation fees.
So, we can’t pretend changing to a 6-band model has made things better. It has thrown up all sorts of unintended consequences and all sorts of exceptions have had to be made to deal with those consequences.
The fact it is has been tarted up and is being re-presented here tonight with an extra band, proves it.
Make no mistake, the “all-new improved” 7-band model would not be on the agenda tonight if Ellesmere not offered to pay an extra $2000 to make things fairer.
The solution to all this dis-function is the vote-band model.
· The vote band model treats big clubs fairly.
· The vote band model loves small clubs. Clubs with under 50 members pay nothing. That means new clubs will affiliate and can use TCRI services to help them grow. It also means small clubs that have left, may return.
· Our 25-member vote-band model, means clubs don’t pay until they reach the top of a band. This means they don’t pay for members they don’t have.
· The model also directly aligns membership numbers with affiliation fees and voting rights
· And the vote-band model uses identical membership data and will collect the same revenue as the 6-band model
As you all know, a minority of clubs will find themselves paying more under vote-bands compared to 6-bands. But, just remember, those are the same clubs that received the biggest UNFAIR advantage when 6-bands was introduced. So by voting YES we’re putting things right again.