College Sport Wellington withholding ground payments to HCC and WCC

College Sport Wellington has announced today it will withhold payments on Hutt City Council and Wellington City Council sports facility fee invoices until the region-wide independent review of sport facility charges commences with the involvement of all Councils.


College Sport Wellington’s board voted unanimously last Friday to follow Capital Football in withholding payment of invoices from Hutt City Council and Wellington City Council for the use of council-owned sport facilities.


Executive Director Bryan Dickinson says the decision was made to hold the Councils to their election promise of an independent review, and to demonstrate the severity of the issue.


“Withholding fees is not a slight against the Councillors. We’re doing it to show how serious we are about delivering better outcomes for our sporting rangatahi.”


“We really appreciate the Wellington City Councillors fronting up and making this internal review happen. We’re looking forward to being involved as it gets underway, and making sure school-age sport players are fairly represented in the independent review.


“It’s been great to have Porirua and Upper Hutt both pledge their participation in this review, to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the costs across the region.”


College Sport will withhold payments to Wellington City Council until the independent review commences. It will only pay fees to Hutt City Council after it joins the independent review, which it is yet to do.


Funds equal to council invoices will be deposited into a separate, ring-fenced account until those conditions are met.


Dickinson says the Hutt City Council’s refusal to participate in the independent review will greatly disadvantage sport players living in the Hutt, which is why College Sport has decided to withhold payment for HCC-owned facilities.


“All kinds of school sports are played at venues owned by the Hutt Council, and the hire fees it charges represent a large portion of our fees to players.”


“We feel it’s necessary to withhold payment of the fees charged by HCC, to show them how important it is that the real costs are understood and investigated properly.”


Dickinson says College Sport Wellington is joining the rejection of HCC’s proposed internal review, as it amounts to a backtrack on the election promise of an independent review by 9 of the 13 people on Council, and is unlikely to give adequate results.


“The internal review proposed by HCC is like asking a student to grade their own work. We’ve been asking about the real cost of running sports fields for a decade, and the Council can’t or haven’t been able to tell us. There’s no basis to trust its assessment.


“For families with school-age children who play sport in the Hutt, affordability is a massive issue and deserves the status of an independent review that other Councils have given it.


“There is now an independent review being established with participation from three major Wellington Councils – if the Hutt City Council does not participate, they are actively blocking Hutt sportspeople from real transparency around the fees they pay, for no good reason.


“We don’t ever want a child held back from their sporting potential due to high fees. We will continue to withhold payment of HCC’s fees until it announces full participation in the region-wide independent review.”


Dickinson says the expectation of College Sport is that, like with Capital Football, all sports games will continue as scheduled at council-owned grounds and facilities.

Article added: Friday 02 June 2023


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