TUANZ faces extinction, members told
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The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) may fold within a month, unless more of its members renew their annual subscription fees.
CEO Paul Brislen says the organisation that has represented telco end-users for 26 years is at a “make or break” position. Unless it receives $400,000 in membership fees, it may not survive the year.
“Any less than that ($400,000) then we really can’t do much. Predominantly that’s paying for me, travel, and for support services. The travel is really just from here (Auckland) to Wellington and back.”
He says with the funding TUANZ would improve its website, seeking to make it a hub for discussions on “all things telecommunications”. The organisation would also have the resources to provide input around such issues as the use of the 700MHz spectrum, improving rural broadband services, and tackling content and copyright issues.
Membership renewals reminders go out every year in April, but it is not until mid-July that the organisation will know if it has enough funding to continue for another year. Brislen says the organisation has to date collected around $250,000 in fees.
In his weekly email letter to TUANZ members on Friday, Brislen said there is a “strong possibility” the organisation will fold. “Our budgets are at an all time low and there’s not a lot else to cut. We are totally reliant on membership fees to keep us going,” he wrote.
“So I urge you all, if you haven’t already paid your fees, please do as soon as possible. Conversely if you’re not going to re-join, let us know as soon as possible so we can work out where we stand.”
Brislen told Computerworld that Chorus is not a member of TUANZ, but that Vodafone has signed up. Many government departments have also not renewed their memberships, citing budget cuts, but others, such as Te Puni Kokiri, have signed up.
Earlier this year several staff members were made redundant and the TUANZ office in Takapuna was closed. Brislen now works from home, where his family have effectively become guardians of the organisation’s heritage.
“My basement is full of the TUANZ archive, there are cardboard boxes for Africa and I can’t get in to change the light bulb at the back, so a little bit of a problem. I’m happy to retain all of that because it’s a good solid history going back 26 years now,” Brislen says.
TUANZ board members include its chair Pat O’Connell who is CIO of Rank Group, treasurer Kevin Drinkwater, CIO at Mainfrieght, and secretary Doug Wilson, CIO of Automobile Association.
Earlier this year the organisation asked for funding from InternetNZ for a research unit but this was turned down. It has also tried to form partnerships with the Ministry of Economic Development and is currently talking with the Telecommunications Carriers Forum about reviving the TUANZ Innovation Awards.
In meantime Brislen says he will spend the next two weeks on the phone talking to members, urging them to pay their fees.
Posted by Will Maxwell-Steele at 20:10:15 on June 29, 2012
Posted by Gordon K. at 21:07:11 on June 29, 2012
Computerworld has also done a great disservice to Paul with sensationalist headlines and statements emphasising the amount the business requires to run and survive. Shame on you.
On the other hand, I agree with others - $400k for a one-person business run from non-business address is over the top, and Paul will not get much sympathy from many including myself, in that 'department'.
Posted by Comsfreak at 16:59:38 on June 29, 2012
The Computer Society cost $768,000 a year to run, according to its annual report.
Consumer NZ has a budget of $5.8m according to its annual report.
InternetNZ budgets $2.8m according to its annual report. the SRS alone accounts for $1.8m to run a database.
I'd say TUANZ will be on a shoestring if it thinks it can get by on only $400,000, regardless of salary.
Posted by Anonymous at 13:46:49 on June 30, 2012
It may come as rude awakening initially to a person who's been on 'working from home' engagement for so long, but the change is good.
Posted by Zoonza at 14:29:03 on June 29, 2012
I have a lot of sympathy for Paul who left a very senior corporate role to join a sinking ship. I suspect the realities of TUANZ's financial situation were not fully explained to him before he joined the organisation.
Posted by Goonza at 16:28:36 on June 29, 2012
But I also sympathise with Paul, he got 'shafted' but it's time he calls it quits and moves on.
Posted by Anonymous at 16:37:24 on June 29, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 13:08:17 on June 28, 2012
How suddenly has this changed - for how many years has it run a deficit?
How come in such a short time its fallen on the bones of its bum, and is pathetically bleating for money? (Its email to members sounds like an abject admission of failure - very poor judgement to demean itself with a communication like that.)
Why has the Board not called an annual general meeting this year? If the situation is so dire wouldn't you expect them to do this, or even call a special general meeting so the members could express a view on the way forward? Has there been any explanation from the Chairman or Secretary why the AGM has been delayed?
Does the Board have the constitutional right to shut TUANZ down without consulting the members?
Doesn't that absence of communication show the Board as deficient in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities to the members?
As an incorporated society TUANZ is owned not by its CEO but by its members. Governance is the responsibility of its elected Board. Isn't it time the Chairman and Board fronted up to the members and stakeholders, instead of hanging out its CEO to cop the flack?
How can a one man operation operating from somebody's home possibly cost $400k a year to run?
Finally, who will put these questions to the Chairman?
Posted by Thoughtful at 21:59:32 on June 27, 2012
Posted by Matt at 18:43:07 on June 28, 2012