8 May 2020

NZ Rugby to lay off half their staff

8:55 am on 8 May 2020

New Zealand Rugby is set to lay off half its full-time staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NZ Rugby headquarters

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Last week New Zealand Rugby announced a seven and a half million dollar loss for 2019 and forecast a $120 million decline in revenue for the current financial year.

RNZ understands that staff have been told that 50 percent of the 180 full time jobs at the organisation will be made redundant and that others will have to reapply for their roles.

"We're working through consultation with our people at the moment on that and it's obviously a challenging time for rugby so we are taking all steps to make sure we communicate directly with our staff," said chief executive Mark Robinson.

Robinson wouldn't confirm the numbers to RNZ.

"It's an incredibly challenging time with Covid with what we're dealing with right around the country, we're seeing situations where businesses are in challenging positions and we're no different with the significant reduction of revenue we're seeing through the course of the year."

Robinson says they've been going through the staff process for some time.

"We've been in dialogue with them for the last week or two.

"We're dealing directly with our staff on this. It's a very challenging time for New Zealand Rugby."

Early on in the lockdown a 20 percent pay cut was imposed on all staff.

In February, prior to the country going into alert level 4, Robinson had indicated the possibility of job losses in the wake of an independent review into the state of the game, as New Zealand rugby looked to identify inefficiencies in the organisation and the opportunity for revenue growth.

Robinson said that when rugby gets back underway in New Zealand, players will be frequently tested for Covid-19.