The New Zealand Rugby Union has given Tasman a non-negotiable deadline of Wednesday to show it can raise about $250,000 to remain in the Air New Zealand Cup.
NZRU chief executive Stew Tew says while Northland's met the extra conditions required to remain in the top tier, the extra money from an additional quarterly grant may not be enough for Tasman.
Tew says while Tasman have worked hard to cuts costs they haven't been able to bank as much as they said they could in September, and there's still a significant gap between that figure and what it will cost to be a "bare bones" union.
Tew says the Air New Zealand Cup draw has to be confimed next week and Tasman have to decide whether they want to try to convince the NZRU they can manage the gap and survive, which isn't going to be straightforward.
He says Tasman's taken a hard look at their costs and drawn up a realistic budget and the challenge now is whether they and the Nelson and Marlborough communites still want to be part of the top competition.
Meanwhile Tew says the extra income from additional games like the All Blacks' Hong Kong Bledisloe Cup Test and the midweek match with Munster in Ireland may be available next season.
The NZRU's provided an additional quarterly grant to the 26 provincial unions, mainly thanks to a larger than expected surplus of $7.5 million resulting from the New Zealand dollar's decine.
But the Hong Kong and Munster matches also helped produce a small actual operating surplus of about a million dollars when a loss of about $4 million had been expected and Tew says other such matches are being planned.