13 Dec 2008

NZRU provides extra help to provinces

1:46 pm on 13 December 2008

The New Zealand Rugby Union will provide immediate help to provincial unions in response to the worsening economic conditions, with each to get an additional quarterly grant.

The 14 Air New Zealand Cup Unions will now get an extra $150, 000 - some used to get less - with another $35,000 for the 12 Heartland Unions.

The NZRU's chief executive Stew Tew says they've been able to provide the help because the NZRU's surplus is bigger than expected, thanks largely to the New Zealand dollar's decline against the US dollar.

Tew says additional income from the Bledisloe Cup test in Hong Kong and the mid-week match against Munster also helped produce a small operating surplus of about a million dollars when a loss of about $4 million had been anticipated.

But he says more work needs to be done on reducing Air New Zealand Cup costs and there'll be a $1 million Support Fund to help Unions achieve a more appropriate and sustainable level.