Covid-19: Hefty cuts loom at NZ Cricket with 10-15 per cent of workforce to lose jobs


New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White is planning a range of scenarios for the 2020-21 season amid Covid-19 uncertainty.

Getty-Images

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White is planning a range of scenarios for the 2020-21 season amid Covid-19 uncertainty.

New Zealand Cricket is proposing cutting its workforce by 10-15 per cent and saving $6 million in operational expenses as it braces for a “significant reduction” in revenue amid Covid-19.

NZC chief executive David White informed its 80 staff on Wednesday of the consultation process which was approved by the board last week and is expected to take a fortnight to complete.

White said a number of jobs “across the business” in their Auckland and Lincoln (near Christchurch) offices could be affected, including some senior roles.

Quite when the crowds return to Bay Oval to watch the Black Caps remains up in the air.

Getty-Images

Quite when the crowds return to Bay Oval to watch the Black Caps remains up in the air.

Black Caps and White Ferns players and management would not be affected by the cost-saving measures, and the players’ annual retainers will be as forecast for the coming season.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: Home tests against Australia in November on table to open Black Caps summer
* New Zealand and Australia Cricket in talks over ‘bubble’ games
* NZ Cricket switches to four-day week, Black Caps tours ‘in serious doubt’

The proposed job losses – which Stuff understands is between 10 and 15 per cent of NZC’s employees – would save $1.5 million. According to last year’s annual report NZC spent $8.5 million on staff remuneration.

NZC declared revenue of $59.4 million for 2018-19 in its annual report, and White said the first draft of its budget worked on a worst case scenario for its next financial year which starts on August 1.

“It’d be fair to say it’s a significant reduction from that [revenue], hence these significant cuts,” White told Stuff.

NZC

Sir Richard Hadlee salutes Ross Taylor as master batsman wins New Zealand Cricket’s top award for third time.

Uncertainty around the lucrative men’s Twenty20 World Cup scheduled for Australia in October, which is almost certain to be postponed, and how much cricket the Black Caps can host amid border restrictions, are the big financial questions.

The International Cricket Council pays a broadcast revenue dividend to its full member nations after every men’s world tournament, while the Black Caps attract as much as 90 per cent of NZC’s annual income via broadcast revenue, ticket sales and commercial deals.

Australia are likely to tour New Zealand amid the trans-Tasman bubble, potentially as early as November, but there’s no guarantee crowd restrictions will be over by then. Another potential cost if other touring sides visit, is that NZC might need to foot the bill for a 14-day quarantine period.

White insisted the cuts would allow NZC to keep the same level of funding for the six major associations, districts and clubs, and retain the volume of men’s and women’s domestic cricket which is expected to start as usual in October.

NZ Cricket says it is still planning to host the Women's World Cup as scheduled in February-March.

Getty-Images

NZ Cricket says it is still planning to host the Women’s World Cup as scheduled in February-March.

Other key areas were maintaining high performance investment; meeting NZC’s commercial and broadcasting obligations, and preparing to host the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup scheduled for February-March.

“We have our priorities for the year which we’re not compromising and we’re investing in those. The cuts are coming from NZC, $6 million, of which $1.5m is staff,” White said.

NZC collected $562,000 for its 80 staff from the first round of the Government’s wage subsidy scheme. Staff were initially asked to use their leave entitlements and were put on four-day weeks.

White described a sombre mood at head office. “What we are experiencing is what I imagine most businesses in New Zealand are experiencing at the moment.

“It’s a really challenging situation and we’ve just got to work through it the best we can to ensure NZ Cricket remains strong and viable, and all our members do as well.”

The pain is being felt across the cricket community, with Auckland and Canterbury among those understood to have informed staff of cuts to some age-group coaching and high performance roles.