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New Zealand Amateur Sport Association warns of ‘extinction event’ for community sport

New Zealand Amateur Sport Association warns of ‘extinction event’ for community sport
November 11, 2023

The New Zealand Amateur Sport Association (NZASA) has warned of a potential ‘extinction event’ for the country’s incorporated community sport organisations (ICSOs).

In a statement released on Friday, it advised “there’s only 28 months icsos to re-register under the incorporated societies act 2022, or otherwise face involuntary dissolution at the dispassionate hand of the registrar of incorporated societies.

“Given the work required to re-register under the new act, time is of the essence to avoid what will otherwise be an ICSO extinction event.”

NZASA advise that organisations that “the most important thing to do right now is to engage with their members, to inform them of what’s changed and what’s required to be done to comply.

“Every ICSO is ‘owned’ by its members, who will need to approve the changes to the ICSO’s current Rules governing its operation, (which is a requirement to ensure an ICSO complies with the new legislation and its regulations).

“Noting that most ICSOs are active and operate on a seasonal basis, (most are either active in warmer or colder months), it can be safely assumed that the number of committee meetings an ICSO may hold to discuss and implement its re-registration strategy is around half the available time, (perhaps 14 months). And given most ICSO committees may only meet once every six weeks or so in-season, some community sport clubs will have few as nine committee meetings before the guillotine falls on the drop-dead date for compliance on 1 April 2026.

“Within that finite period of time, an ICSO will need to review its operating processes and procedures, including confirming new dispute resolution procedures which meet required principles of natural justice, reviewing the processes and criteria for the election of officers and contact persons, (including the adoption of new certifications of eligibility), determining if their club qualifies as a ‘small society’ for financial reporting purposes, ensuring that that procedures for the formal recording of conflicts of interest are implemented, confirming the processes by which members consent to membership (and cease to be members), and considering their eligibility (and application for) income tax exemptions (if not currently in place).

“All of these obligations (and others now required under the new Act) will need to be approved at an Annual General Meeting (or Special General Meeting) by an ICSO’s members.”

While some ICSOs have acknowledged their new obligations and have indicated that they will attempt to comply, the NZASA believes these are likely to be in the minority of the over 7,000 community sport organisations in New Zealand, as evidenced by the large number of ICSOs that continue to be dissolved by the Registrar of Incorporated Societies for non-compliance with the predecessor 1908 Act, and the representative numbers attending its national seminar series which has played a key role in alerting ICSOs to their new obligations.

Given the new Act is more than seven times larger than its predecessor (comprising 270 sections compared to 36), NZASA has repeatedly warned the New Zealand Government of the massive impact community sport is facing unless the law (as currently enacted) is modified to meet the capabilities of volunteer-led community sport organisations.

For further information, please contact NZASA’s Gordon Noble-Campbell 021 612 451.

Lower image: Gordon Noble-Campbell. Credit: VSA Foundation.

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