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'Have Your Say On SPCA Take-over' by Robin Plummer 

Our local SPCA branch  is facing big changes if the proposed takeover by the SPCA National Administration goes ahead.

Our local branch which has over 250 members has operated in Thames for over 25 years and provided a wonderful community service. We not only have a shelter for dogs and cats, but we also have a small  shop, and a veterinary  service which  operates from a mobile clinic on site .

As Thames SPCA Secretary Frances  Southorn says :”We provide a service to help animals in need , and are not for profit, so can keep our charges and costs down to the public. “

She added - “Community support has been great, and we have a willing band of volunteers who not only care for the animals, but also include dog walkers who take our dogs for their daily exercise”

All this might be lost if the proposal by the National body to have a corporate structure is adopted. This would would provide an umbrella for all NZ SPCA services, with the Thames shelter manager reporting to the CEO in Auckland. The local committee will disappear along with valuable expertise and experience, and all assets owned by our Society will transfer to the new national organisation.

On the other hand, the proposal will give local branches like Thames the chance to come on board with the national aims, and take advantage of national corporate structure that it is claimed will provide greater efficiency and more professional management.

The alternative will leave us outside the SPCA umbrella, and will entail us adopting an alternative name. 

It is suggested that In Thames this could be 'The Tiger Animal Welfare Trust'  which recognises the valuable annual donation made by a Auckland donor who has indicated that he will withdraw his substantial sponsorship if Thames SPCA chooses to go under the national umbrella.

Local SPCA members will be asked at two meetings on Tuesday 31st May at 6.30pm and on Wednesday 1st June at 6pm to vote on the two options :

  • Go it alone, or
  • Go under National SPCA administration

The meetings will be held in the St Georges Church Hall, and are open to all SPCA financial members.

Our Committee is anxious that all financial members attend one of these meetings in order to be fully informed on the implications of each of these options, and to have your say.

A vote will be taken at the end of each meeting in accordance with our constitutional requirements in order to determine the future of our organisation.

Please attend and have your say!







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Reader Comments (4)

I am a volunteer at the Thames SPCA.

After an unpleasant exchange with Frances Southorn as to whether or not I, and some other volunteers who have paid an annual membership fee, would even be allowed in to this afternoon's meeting, I was eventually let in. We heard some very important, and useful information from RNZSPCA's CEO regarding how Thames SPCA might fit into, and benefit from, a new national structure for SPCA. Robin Plummer did not attend the meeting.

I could provide information about the present management of Thames SPCA, that is probably not in order at this time, on this blog. Suffice to say, that there is serious dysfunction in the committee, that I am aware has been the case for some time. Robin Plummer may be unaware of these matters, as he is not a committee member, nor a current volunteer doing any work at the centre.

There is much yet to be worked through regarding the problems with Thames SPCA. In the meantime, I urge everyone having the interests of this great national organisation at heart, to support it as usual, particularly in Thames. Please don't be coerced into voting on anything as important as the long term future of SPCA in Thames, on the basis of half-baked information. Rather, if you are a member of Thames SPCA and were not at the meeting today, please come to the meeting tomorrow evening. In turn, become better informed by the RNZSPCA representatives, who I understand will again be present.

Tim Grove, SPCA Volunteer.

May 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Good response Tim, but bear in mind that Rob's wife was operated on yesterday morning. Rob was at her bedside in Hamilton. His absence was solely due to this. I would also point out that Rob has been on the Committee in the past and he has provided years of voluntary service to the organisation, so be a little gracious.
On the other hand, there is always another side to every story, and you appear to provide it - that is what this blog is all about. I have no position on the matter whatsoever - I just wish the Thames SPCA the best possible outcome in this imbroglio.

May 31, 2016 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Thanks for your information Bill. I had no idea as to the reasons for Robin's absence at the meeting yesterday. I certainly sympathise with anyone dealing with his wife's medical problems.

While Robin is somewhat unclear in his article as what he is ascribing to Frances Southorn, and what he is saying himself, I have taken the heading to his article on your blog to represent his pessimistic position on the future of SPCA in Thames. In turn, other than the two specific quotes he ascribes to Frances, I have assumed that what he covers in his article, to be his information and opinions.

I would have thought that Frances, as the spokesperson for the majority faction of the dysfunctional committee that has organised these meetings, might have advised why Robin was not present at the meeting yesterday. He is clearly aligned with this faction. I, for one, would have appreciated knowing why he was not there to answer questions on his stance he has now detailed in the public arena . Also, I'm sure it would have been very useful for Robin to have heard the very balanced factual information RNZSPCA representatives gave to the meeting yesterday. I sincerely hope that circumstances allow Robin to be present at the further meeting this evening.

The more I learn of the possible options for restructuring of RNZSPCA nationally, the more I see it will be of benefit to the successful management of future SPCA activities in Thames, assuming that SPCA continues here. I hope Robin will be prepared to objectively review his position when he also becomes aware of all the facts. If he is prepared to do so, and in view of his past work, he could play a senior role in helping to heal the damage that I feel voting at the first meeting has caused. At this time, the focus should be on informative discussion and reconciliation, rather than the polarising action of taking votes at these meetings.


June 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Rob is as entitled as you to his opinions Tim, and I don't believe he expressed a position one way or the other - simply to encourage attendance at the meeting.
It is immaterial to me what decision the Thames RSPA takes on the matter as long as it is in accordance with its rules (Constitution). I trust that you are happy to do likewise.

June 1, 2016 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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