Business to close after months of payment delays

A Dunedin family-owned business which provided signage for the Fifa Women’s World Cup will wrap up after being worn down by months of delays for payment for their work.

Otago Grandformat Print (OG Print) owner Fiona Hunter said she was initially thrilled when her business secured much of the signage design work for the Dunedin matches at the Fifa Women’s World Cup at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"I was so excited and so pumped for the event. What a fantastic opportunity."

But as the realities of the work settled in, Mrs Hunter started to realise the expectations were extreme.

"It was intense. We had a lot of different so-called masters.

"There were so many last-minute changes forced on us, so many long hours to get it completed, and at times we went without sleep."

The United Kingdom-based CSM Live was contracted by Fifa and was responsible for providing the event branding and signage, which in turn employed OG Print for the Dunedin matches in the tournament, which took place in July and August.

Ms Hunter and her husband Manu said yesterday they were only going public with their story after they were able to get assurances from CSM that some of the $200,000 they were owed would be paid.

Dunedin printing business owners Fiona and Manu Hunter will be forced out of business after...
Dunedin printing business owners Fiona and Manu Hunter will be forced out of business after battling a Fifa-contracted company for payment for their work during the Fifa Women’s World Cup. Photo: Gregor Richardson
That money would be used to pay their workers and then they would look to wrap up their business, possibly in March next year.

"We couldn’t get anywhere until we spoke out ... A couple of families who did work for us have been particularly desperate," Mrs Hunter said.

"I felt a bit demoralised by the whole thing."

Mr Hunter said CSM had a "silo" approach to how it worked.

"There were all sorts of things that we appeared not to be told about until it was almost too late.

"But we achieved everything they asked us to achieve, and for us that was absolutely humbling."

He said CSM Live really needed to be separated from Fifa when telling this story.

"Fifa’s goals and aspirations are still something to celebrate, but this is about a subcontracted organisation that until now has failed to pay."

Mrs Hunter said the strain and the lack of money coming in had worn them down.

Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
"That’s the reality," she said.

"There was no space for other work ... We made no money at all from the actual event," Mrs Hunter said.

The Otago Daily Times approached CSM for comment.

However, in a brief statement to TVNZ, CSM Live said it was working to resolve supplier invoices.

"Due to the complex nature and size of this project, it takes time to reconcile multiple areas of deliverables to reach final payment agreements.

"In a handful of cases, this has taken longer than we had hoped.

"We are working to ensure all supplier invoices are settled.

"All our suppliers will be paid for their work delivered pursuant to their contracts."