Grey Power wrangles leave Nelson branch on hold

01:11, Sep 14 2012

Ructions within the Nelson chapter of the Grey Power lobby group which led to the resignation of several key members, have placed it in limbo until a new executive team is in place.

Five members of the executive committee plus president Gordon Currie have resigned in recent months, which has wiped out Nelson Grey Power's quorum. It is technically now an unconstitutional incorporated society and cannot legally operate until a new president, vice-president and executive committee is elected following a special meeting later this month, Grey Power member and meeting convener Neville Male said.

Former committee member Errol Millar, who was among those to resign, said there was unrest over problems within the organisation and the way it was being managed.

He said "things were not being run in accordance with what was agreed on" in that decisions made were not upheld.

Mr Currie had stepped down because of other time-consuming commitments. He said the role as Grey Power president took a lot of time and was a voluntary role.

"It's a huge undertaking," he said.


He said Mr Millar was part of the reason for the ructions within Nelson Grey Power, in that he wanted to split from the national federation to avoid having to pay the $5 per member capitation fee to the national body.

Mr Currie said going it alone would force the local chapter "down the gurgler", but he conceded there were always members "falling out" over various issues.

He said the health of Nelson Grey Power was "extremely good", despite membership having dropped in recent years from 14,000 to 8600.

Mr Currie said similar declines had been recorded nationwide, but Nelson was still the strongest zone in the country because of the way he had pushed it.

He expected a rejuvenated local chapter would do well to take advantage of Nelson Grey Power's cash investments, which totalled around $100,000, but warned against having the wrong person in the role who could "spend a lot of money pushing their own name".

"I would like to see someone take over who has Grey Power at heart and someone who knows the organisation. The proposed person is pushing his own barrow," Mr Currie said.

Mr Male, the former Sport Tasman chief executive, has been touted by Mr Millar as "just what was needed" to revitalise Grey Power in Nelson and get a good team together to make it work.

"Gordon has done well but he's done the job for so many years. We need a lot of new blood around to set us in a new direction and liven it up," said Mr Millar who was considering seeking a return to the committee.

Mr Male confirmed it was a role he would be willing to take on, but he expected there would be other people also willing to put their names forward.

"We hope to get a group of new, interested members coming forward to form a new executive and take it forward. We had got to a point where we couldn't operate," Mr Male said.

He said the group had become disillusioned over "behind-the-scenes" issues, and that Grey Power's role in the community had been diluted because of it.

Mr Millar said Grey Power had in recent times not been "making enough noise" on behalf of the people it is meant to represent.

Grey Power New Zealand national vice-president Terry King said he had not known about the troubles in Nelson, but they would not be something the national organisation would get involved with. He said it would be up to the zone director, Mr Currie, to handle.

The special general meeting for Grey Power members will be at 1pm on Thursday, September 27, at the Warnes Bowls Stadium, 206 Songer St, Stoke.

The Nelson Mail