8 May 2024

NZR back down and side with Governance Review, board to potentially reapply

1:37 pm on 8 May 2024
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Aside from the main concession in the board reapplying, NZR's new proposal will establish an initial Appointments Panel. Photo: Dom Thomas

The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) board has changed its stance on the independent Governance Review recommendations, published last August.

In a press release on Wednesday, NZR stated that it intends to put forward the full recommendations at an upcoming Special General Meeting.

In a major backdown from NZR's modified proposal put forward in March, board members who are not coming to the end of their terms in 2024 will now potentially have to reapply for their positions.

New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) chief executive Rob Nichol said the new direction was "excellent and outstanding, hopefully the game can get in behind it".

The NZRPA originally commissioned the Pilkington Report, which made the recommendations last August.

"This proposal goes a long way to ensuring the future of rugby in New Zealand. We implore the relevant stakeholders to take time to understand and digest it and see that it's the right way forward," Nichol said.

NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol

NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol Photo: Photosport

At present, the board is made up of nine members, three of whom are elected, three appointed, and three nominated. One of the members is automatically appointed as the NZR representative on the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board.

The modified proposal will be put to a vote at a Special General Meeting on 30 May. It will likely be up against a counter proposal developed by a group of Provincial Unions (PUs), which is likely to focus on maintaining the status quo in terms of representation on the board.

Aside from the main concession in the board reapplying, NZR's new proposal will establish an initial Appointments Panel. The panel will either confirm board members for the balance of their terms or consider them against other possible candidates.

The recommended new slate of board members would then be put to the voting members for ratification. This panel would comprise Julia Raue (chairperson), Whaimutu Dewes, Rob Fisher, Peter Kean, Dame Farah Palmer and Caren Rangi.

The initial panel would serve for the 2024 and 2025 appointments cycles.

A skills and competencies framework, something that Nichol said had the full support of the NZRPA, will be in place to "ensure NZR is governed by the best possible mix of qualified directors."

This latest development is hoped to bring the long governance saga to an end, after the Pilkington Report's findings last year.

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