16 May 2024

NZ Rugby finalises governance proposals

6:28 am on 16 May 2024
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Photo: Dom Thomas

NZ Rugby (NZR)'s long-running governance saga took another step towards resolution this week, with the announcement of the two proposals that will be voted on at a special general meeting on 30 May.

This comes after news last week that NZR had ditched its original proposal to one that adopts the recommendations of last year's Pilkington Report (proposal one). It will go against another proposal put together by a group of provincial unions (proposal two).

At the request of the governance review commissioning parties, NZR and New Zealand Rugby Players Association, an independent review panel has reviewed the two proposals. This was conducted to consider whether each proposal aligns to the principles and recommendations of the Pilkington Report.

It unsurprisingly found that proposal one was almost entirely consistent with the report's initial recommendations. However, proposal two was found to be inconsistent in several areas, mainly focused around the makeup of the NZR board and how the members are appointed.

The main area of criticism of proposal two was the requirement for at least three directors to have previously served on provincial union boards. According to the review: "it may be that this is the case for some successful candidates but mandating the requirement is a limiting factor on the potential pool of candidates. The logic behind the requirement is unclear."

While stating that proposal two was broadly consistent regarding diversity, the review said that "the stipulation of three directors with provincial union governance service has the potential to limit the divert of thought around the NZR board table."

It also said that "It is of particular concern that this proposal seeks decision making power over the skills and competencies framework for the NZR board".

The review also pointed out that proposal two's recommendation to have three rather than two members appointed by the Stakeholder Council was not consistent with the report.

Meanwhile, proposal one's big concession was that the current board members whose terms do not expire at the end of this year will have to reapply for their positions under the new appointment structure.