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Flexman: Tasman Union has good 2012 [Nelson Mail]

Despite announcing a net deficit, the Tasman Rugby Union presented a stronger than expected financial result and a generally positive outlook at its annual general meeting in Blenheim last night.

The financial report displayed a net deficit for 2012 of $35,455 and although that was down on a net surplus of $55,855 in 2011, the board had budgeted for a deficit. Tasman chief executive Andrew Flexman called it a "better than budgeted result", possibly as a result of a measured financial approach and an ability to generate a good level of commercial income.

"Reflecting on 2012, we are very pleased with where we got to and there are many things we can reflect on pretty proudly.

"Financially, we are still in a position where we have a strong strategic focus to make sure that year- on-year we can run a sustainable business. 

"We aren't quite doing that at the moment, but as long as we can continue to keep expenditure at manageable levels and start to bring in a little bit more revenue, there is no reason we can't be a sustainable business." Flexman said the financial result was "in effect, an operating surplus".

The other positives were that the union generated more cash than it spent, increased its commercial revenue by $50,000 and still had more than $600,000 in cash reserves.

While overall news on that front was good, Flexman noted maintaining the union's relatively strong financial position required continued strong discipline in a challenging financial environment.

"[One of] our biggest challenges [is] financial sustainability, but that is not unique to us and it is a challenge for all 14 provincial unions. 

"We are still operating in an environment where the country is struggling and that's obviously going to have an impact on sport." 

The other ongoing challenges facing the union included continuing to work on the Marlborough-Nelson relationship, something Flexman is particularly passionate about, and the health of the community game at grassroots level.

With regards to the union's flagship team, the Makos, he said planning for the upcoming 2013 season was "very advanced" and felt there was no reason they could not go even better than their semifinal placing in the ITM Cup championship division last year. 

Adding to that, Flexman said a NZRU working party had been negotiating with the NZ Rugby Players Association and there was some good news on the horizon in terms of player salaries.

"The early word we are getting is in the provincial union contracting environment there is [going to be] some really positive change. 

"There are moves towards making that contracting environment more affordable for the provincial unions and the salary cap over a period of three years coming back reasonably substantially which, for a smaller union like ours, is going to be advantageous, " Flexman said.

"The spending band of each union is going to be brought closer together, which in theory should lead to more evenness [on the field]."

- © Fairfax NZ News