Iain Potter resigns as Chief Executive – But will it change anything?

The short-answer is no, it won’t change anything because of our outdated and bland constitution which is keeping basketball in New Zealand in the dark ages. The document does not contain any clear or meaningful objects and has very subtle auditing guidelines, the constitution allows Basketball New Zealand to provide the bare minimum and has very little accountability for those who have power.

Chief Executives can only do what this document allows them to do. If the document is lacking definitive and direct guidelines which promote sustainability/growth and global participation at all levels of the game, the Chief Executive is not obligated or empowered by the governing board to do anything of significance or implement any real change or improve on what they have already in place (current systems). If your founding documents are mediocre, so will be your product.

The constitution influences the current Basketball New Zealand strategic plan and that is the real issue. The constitution is a set of rules and guidelines that define the boundaries of the charity or society, it doesn’t necessarily fix all of the issues the basketball community faces but it’s definitely the starting point for change. You change the constitution, a roll on effect will occur.

If you compare Rugbys and Netballs constitutions to Basketball New Zealand’s, you can clearly see a monumental difference. At first glance the constitution appears fine, but if you look closely it lacks any real depth or clear structure which promotes furtherance of the game. It needs more body to the constitution and have some of the similar things which Rugby and Netball have in their documents which have enabled them to have immense success for decades. The constitution needs to be amended for the sport to advance, its plain and simple. It’s not so simple to change as it requires the governing boards approval. The Chief Executive can not change the constitution themselves.

Many people have said that the High Performance Sport New Zealand’s criteria is the problem and the government needs realistic funding avenues, I agree with them but changing the current constitution can open many more doors and opportunities to gain funding from investors and sponsors by restructuring how Basketball New Zealand is run/governed and operated.

We need to make new clear rules and guidelines for our constitution so those who run Basketball New Zealand can be held accountable and be made to deliver change. Some of those rules and guidelines need to insure that accountability is held to those who’s purpose is to serve the financial sector of the organisation.

It appears that it actually does not matter who’s in the top job, unless you have the right internal documents to support you and back you. Otherwise its a dead end road which leads to mediocracy and poor results. Also having innovative board members is crucial to any Chief Executives success.

I recently asked Iain for comment on where the sport should go from here following his resignation and for comment about the constitution/strategic plan moving forward.

Below is his response ⬇️

Over Iains tenure he received a lot of criticism for not being able to secure adequate funding and provide opportunities for everybody, my response to that is this ⬇️

‘You can’t do a job without all the right tools’

Below is Rugby New Zealands constitution ⬇️


Below is Basketball New Zealands constitution ⬇️


Below is Netball New Zealands Constitution ⬇️


If you compare these constitutions you will notice how Basketball New Zealand’s objects are far more inferior to Rugbys and Netballs. The objects do not encourage or foster the same amount of opportunities and relationships that the other two mainsteam sports have set out to achieve in their respective documents.

The more laws and regulations which empower your institution the better. You can hold Board Members and Chief Executives accountable if you have the right constitution and most importantly the right attitude. Because change starts with attitude, no one wants to listen when you start the conversation abruptly.

Why is a constitution important? A constitution is important because it ensures that those who make decisions on behalf of the public fairly represent public opinion. It also sets out the ways in which those who exercise power may be held accountable to the people they serve.

Every competent and thriving business in New Zealand and globally has a strong healthy constitution and it compliments what they are trying to achieve. Also having a healthy and detailed constitution improves and empowers the strategic plan. In Iian Potters letter to me (above), he tells us that structural change is on its way and hopefully that includes the constitution and the way basketball is run in our country. Hopefully the changes are permanent and help us all to…

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

One thought on “Iain Potter resigns as Chief Executive – But will it change anything?

  1. Forward thinking and clear achievable goals have always been lacking. Money or lack of revenue streams, is a problem. However the explosion of numbers at high schools makes the game attractive to sponsors surely. The lack of a clear path for women is the greatest failure of basketball in the last 30 years. So much so that the Tall Ferns now are selected from Australia. Well written commentary! Will anything change?


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