Wellington's proposal to rehome its gear has uncovered a constitutional problem around financial transaction limits which threatens the ability of NZLARPS to fund existing projects. The National Committee is currently planning an SGM to implement a temporary fix to allow business-as-usual to continue (formal notification of this will happen in the next few days), but a permanent solution clearly requires membership input.
- NZLARPS' constitution currently requires any financial commitment of $3,000 or more to be approved by SGM or AGM. The clause has been overlooked for years.
- Venue hire for large campaign larps now regularly exceeds that amount.
- If we want campaign-level projects to be approved quickly, then the transaction limit needs to change.
- Questions of the level of financial control and what sort of transactions should need membership approval are rightly questions for the membership.
The NZLARPS constitution includes a financial transaction limit:
3. SCOPE OF POWERS
The Society shall be given the widest possible powers to do all things that may be necessary in the pursuance of the Society's purposes:
(a) To purchase, take on lease or in exchange, on hire or otherwise acquire whole mortgaged land and dispose of any real personal property and any rights of privileges which the Society shall think necessary or expedient for the purposes of attaining the aims of the Society or promoting the interests of the Society and of its members or such other persons. Where financial commitment exceeds Three Thousand New Zealand dollars (NZ$3,000) all such actions must be approved by AGM/SGM...
(b) To use the funds of the Society as the Society may consider necessary or proper in payment of the costs and expenses of furthering or carrying the purposes of the Society.
(Bolded for emphasis)
When NZLARPS was established in 2006 $3,000 was more money than we ever thought we'd have. But NZLARPS has grown, as has the size of our projects. The venue hire for a large weekend-long event (such as Saga or Exile) now exceeds the limit - and such events have now become routine business in the Auckland region.
Under the current rules, we would require SGM or AGM approval for every large event budget. This is impractical, and the need to approve a budget for an upcoming large event - Saga - means that the national committee is planning an SGM to implement a temporary fix which raises the transaction limit and allows the national committee as well as an AGM/SGM to approve large expenditures. This will allow business-as-usual to continue, but it is not intended to be permanent. The level of financial control and what sort of transactions should need membership approval are rightly questions for the membership, and we would like to vote on a more permanent solution at this year's AGM.
The key questions to consider are:
- Should there be a transaction limit, and if so, at what level should it be set?
- If there is a limit, who should approve large transactions? The committee? The membership? Either? Different bodies depending on the size of the transaction?
The question is complicated by regionalisation. The regions have very different levels and types of activity and financial resources. A defined limit which allows Auckland to continue business-as-usual large projects without undue delay would effectively exempt all other regions from scrutiny. But a limit expressed as a proportion of a region's current balance would likely mean that those other regions required approval not just for venue hires, but also relatively minor transactions.
Once we've got some input then we can move to some polls to try and shape a clause. Alternatively, members are free to propose anything to be voted on at the AGM.