29 Nov 2018

Taranaki Rugby seeks $600,000 bailout

8:51 pm on 29 November 2018

Earthquake damage to Yarrow Stadium has wiped out the local union's cash reserves, the local district council has been told.

Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.

It will be several years before Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth is fully repaired. Photo: RNZ/Robin Martin

The Taranaki Rugby Football Union has told an extraordinary council meeting in New Plymouth that it is "fighting for its financial existence".

The union wants the council to waive costs for the earthquake-damaged Yarrow Stadium this year and over the next three years - a total of $600,000.

The Taranaki Regional Council owns the stadium and the New Plymouth District Council is responsible for its management.

TRFU chairman Lyndsay Thompson told the district council that the union's business model had been turned on its head when the covered stands at Yarrow were closed after they were found to be an earthquake risk.

Mr Thompson said the union's cash reserves of $500,000 had been wiped out this season and its deficit for 2018 was $807,000.

He said $133,000 of that deficit was stadium costs owed to the council.

Mr Thompson said only help from the New Zealand Rugby Football Union was allowing the Taranaki union to trade its way out of this situation.

He said the union was a not-for-profit and made a major contribution to life in Taranaki.

An October 2018 Berl report had found that between 2003-2017 rugby had brought in $100 million in economic activity, Mr Thompson said.

"Today, we need support from the Taranaki community, starting here with the NPDC, to ensure an organisation founded in 1885, is not lost, through no fault of its own."

Mr Thompson said there was no point it getting to 2022 with a repaired stadium but with a TRFU crippled with debt.

The council voted to defer a decision on whether it would waive stadium charges.