New Zealand Rugby (NZR)and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) have signed a new collective employment agreement for players in New Zealand from 2013 to 2015.
Formal signing of the agreement follows a comprehensive negotiation and ratification process by the NZR Board, Provincials Unions, Super Rugby Teams and the NZRPA.
The new Collective Agreement includes:
* An on-going commitment by all parties to work in partnership to ensure the growth and success of New Zealand rugby.
* Revenue sharing model maintained with 36.56 per cent of player generated revenue, equating to $121.2m over three years, being set aside in the forecast player payment pool to allow for an increased investment in player payments and benefits.
* Additional focus on Sevens and Women's rugby;
* Reduction in the NPC Provincial Union Salary Cap and the introduction of a centralised NPC Incentive Payment for Super Rugby players as part of an increased commitment to Provincial Unions.
NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew welcomed the new agreement as critical for professional rugby in New Zealand and providing the game with significant certainty about the future.
"We have together achieved a result which is good for all areas of the game, affordable and importantly, improves our ability to keep our top players in this country.
"It's no accident the professional game is in great heart. We are currently in the unique position of holding all four World Cups in fifteens and Sevens, the Chiefs have gone back to back in Super Rugby and the Black Ferns have just enjoyed a clean sweep against England as they build to next year's World Cup.
"Our successes owe much to the strong partnership we have with players. However, we take nothing for granted and believe the new collective employment agreement provides a firm foundation to keep producing the best players in the world and the most successful teams and competitions," he added.
Tew said the new agreement underlined New Zealand Rugby's stronger financial position.
"New Zealand Rugby’s financial future is more secure as we worked hard to contain costs, grow revenue and restore our cash reserves. Our revenue share model with players means they can expect to share in our improved position over the term of the collective.
"Significantly the agreement also reduces the financial burden on NPC unions through a combination of changes including a reduction in the salary cap, altered minimum and maximum player payment levels, and greater compensation for All Blacks who are unavailable due to their Rugby Championship commitments," he said.
NZRPA Chief Executive Rob Nichol also welcomed the formal agreement noting that it serves as a cornerstone of the professional rugby environment in New Zealand.
"The agreement provides a level of certainty around the competitions and the overall contracting model. It sets the parameters that all those involved in professional rugby in New Zealand operate within from a player contracting, development and welfare perspective. It creates a strong professional rugby partnership and aligns the interests of the parties involved, helping to ensure we are all on the same page with what we are seeking to achieve, and what role we all play.
"As with previous collectives the players are proud of the results the process and final agreement has produced for rugby in New Zealand but we know we still have on-going challenges and opportunities to address to ensure rugby's long term growth and success.
"We operate in a global sporting and entertainment market place that continues to evolve. The Players believe we can never take anything for granted and that we must continue to work hard, create the best environment possible and strive for success," he said.