Bike New Zealand organisation in financial strife

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 10:54 22/05/2014

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New Zealand's second-most funded Olympic sport faces serious financial problems with Bike New Zealand set to record a net loss of $169,685.

The taxpayer-funded organisation, which received $18.3 million in public funding for its last Olympic Games alone, only avoided posting "a relatively large" financial deficit at last year's AGM after it flipped a $200,000 website expense into its list of assets.

But this time, the red numbers can't be avoided.

The news increases pressure on Sport New Zealand boss Peter Miskimmin to release information from a $70,500 report - paid for by taxpayers - into a raft of serious issues inside one of government's biggest Olympic investments.

Under the Official Information Act, Stuff has recently requested details of the BikeNZ $70,500 review - but Miskimmin is trying to block the report from reaching the public domain.

Miskimmin said one of the reasons for him refusing to release the report came after considering whether there is "an overriding public interest" in making the document public. Stuff has filed a complaint with the ombudsman.

In a statement released today, BikeNZ confirmed this weekend's AGM will see the organisation post a net loss of $169,685 for the year ended 31 December 2013 and also cited a number of challenges it is facing.

"The net loss has been generated from the community, sport and shared services side of the organisation, mostly as a result of unrealised commercial revenue and an inability to secure a principle sponsor," the statement said.

BikeNZ lost its principal sponsor two years ago and at an operational level, has also been under serious pressure during that time

Last year successful sprint coach Justin Grace and chief executive Kieran Turner both suddenly quit BikeNZ ahead of an impending relocation to a new, multimillion- dollar velodrome in Cambridge.

Recent Stuff investigations have also included claims a BikeNZ junior development coach has tried to influence young riders to take pain pills before races.

New chief executive, Andrew Matheson, says BikeNZ simply wants to break even next year - but claims the organisation is "far from crisis".

"We are far from crisis but we do face challenges. We are in the process of reshaping our business to ensure we can deliver on our core business, while living within our means," Matheson said.

"The 2014 financial year will be one of consolidation and change based on outcomes of the recent whole-of-sport review which will guide our way forward.

"We are also undergoing a full and binding governance review this year, which will further strengthen our capability and focus moving forward."

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