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Ratepayers upset over Otago union bailout

Thursday 15 Mar 2012 2:07 p.m.

Otago ratepayers are unhappy after the Council said it would help bail the Rugby Union out (Photosport)

Otago ratepayers are unhappy after the Council said it would help bail the Rugby Union out (Photosport)

A Dunedin councillor says he has been bombarded with calls from unhappy ratepayers following the city council's decision to help rescue the crippled Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU).

Following talks on Wednesday night, a financial survival package was agreed between the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), Dunedin City Council, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) and the Bank of New Zealand.

As part of the package the council will wipe $480,000 worth of debt the union has with it.

Councillor Lee Vandervis told NZ Newswire both his mobile and work phone had been ringing constantly on Thursday morning.

"Let's just say, people are very unhappy," he says.

"Throwing more money at the ORFU after we've done so much for them already has been very difficult."

Mr Vandervis voted against the council's proposal to financially back the ORFU.

The survival package also includes a $500,000 loan from the NZRU, All Blacks tests confirmed for Dunedin in 2013 and 2014 and a joint effort by NZRU, ORFU and NZRPA to reduce 2012 player contracts by $290,000 from the budget.

The ORFU's board will also resign and the constitution will be modernised.

A fortnight ago the 131-year-old rugby union was to apply to the High Court to put itself into liquidation as it could not pay debts worth $2.35 million. It also faced an expected loss of $750,000 this year.

The union had twice delayed the move, hoping a rescue package could be pieced together.


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