Sunday, June 23, 2024

Decision looms for Grey Power as economic woes bite

BY LEW FINDLAY - Interim Treasurer, Grey Power

I was appointed the interim treasurer for Grey Power NZ after the last AGM. During the meeting the budget presented was rejected and the board was told to rethink it. This we have done, and the new budget was sent out to all associations.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on the budget for 2024. This has been a mammoth task because we are now in a situation where our income does not quite match what we would like to spend. Therefore, the budget for next year is extremely tight, but workable.

I am writing this article for the national magazine because I feel our members need to know our financial situation in advance of the next AGM so they can be forewarned. The conversation may not be pleasant, shall we say.

In the past Grey Power New Zealand has been blessed with the money it received from Kiwibank. And it appears that the national organisation got used to working with these extra funds, which we no longer have. It also allowed the board to keep capitation (the agreed fee) low.

Our president is encouraging us to look seriously at how we can trim our expenses without affecting members’ representation and our outreach.

Our main source of income is from the member’s capitation which is $7.50 per member. Our biggest expense by far is the national magazine, which is sent out four times a year. As you all know postage has gone up dramatically in the last two years. We’re now heading to $2 per magazine. With approximately 43,000 magazines being sent out, it is not hard to see the problem we have in meeting our budget.

Some thoughts on this are to ask of our members to receive their magazine via email instead of through NZ Post. That would save approximately $8 per member per year. If half of our members did this, we would be able to present a much more effective budget for the following year.

Another suggestion was that we reduce our magazine from four times a per year to three. The board is very much against doing this as the magazine is the most important contact we have with our members.

One other outcome could be to increase capitation. This of course must go to the AGM. Personally, I would not like the board to be recommending an increase in capitation. I believe it should come from the members on the floor as to what the increase, if any, should be made to the capitation.

Grey Power NZ has other commitments such as office rental and staff wages, advocacy visits to Parliament and our work with other organisations, reimbursement to directors and representatives for their expenses, as well as all the other costs to of running an organisation of our size spread across the whole of New Zealand.

I have asked that this article be put in our national magazine so that all members can be aware of our financial situation and hopefully at the AGM next year we can get some good ideas coming from our members on the floor.

Believe me, your board is doing its very best to address the situation. Our president is encouraging us to look seriously at how we can trim our expenses without affecting members’ representation and our outreach.

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