Changes designed around zone model

New Zealand domestic netball underwent a seismic shift on Saturday but if those behind the changes have anything to do with it, most people probably won't notice any differences.

A special vote in Auckland allowed the game's constitution to be changed so that governance will now be structured around a zone model, doing away with the old provincial system which had run the game.

That will mean an amalgamation between Otago and Southland, with the new Netball South entity to be administered from Invercargill.

Working party chairman Jono Bredin said a number of recommendations had been made to the incoming board of Netball South and he hoped the changes would be relatively seamless.

"The changes that have been put forward are meant to increase the ease of delivery, in terms of putting frameworks and programmes into place and show a clear pathway from when you first set out playing netball right through to the Southern Steel."

Both Otago and Southland had previously run "lean" operations, but it was up to the new board to decide whether any staff would lose their jobs in the change, Bredin said.

"We've come up with a structure to put forward to the new zone board basically with our recommendations, but they are just that - recommendations," he said.

"We have been really careful with what we've designed to improve the delivery of netball programmes in the community."

The decision to base the administration in Invercargill had been driven by a need to be close to the game's major funders, including the Invercargill Licensing Trust, Bredin said.

"Invercargill is a bigger office than Otago and things work well, so in our view there was no need to throw the baby out with the bath water."

Bredin said the changes would be an amalgamation, rather than a takeover.

"Throughout this whole process we've said that regional identity is really important and you will see it continue," he said.

"We want to make sure that people in Oamaru and Central Otago see zone staff out in the community as much as some of the centres in Southland would expect.

"It's certainly not going to be driven solely out of Invercargill, there will be staff scattered around Otago as well."

Bredin paid credit to Netball New Zealand for allowing the zones to decide what worked best for them.

"It's been good to have that approach rather than them sitting up in Auckland and telling everybody how they wanted it done."

The Southland Times