New Zealand rugby undergo shake-up

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:44
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand Rugby Union is set for a huge modification after recent findings of a review into the culture within the sport.

The NZR's affiliated bodies have voted by an overwhelming majority to change the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) constitution to update the selection processes for Board candidates.

These changes aim to facilitate a broader range of skills and attributes amongst Board members, in a move designed to strengthen and future-proof the governance of rugby.  

The changes were made at a Special General Meeting of NZR Wednesday and comes on the heels of a Respect and Responsibility Review released last month, that identified no less than 36 cases of misconduct after incidents such as the mistreatment of a stripper hired for a Chiefs end-of-season party last year, and All Black Aaron Smith's airport toilet sex incident.

The changes aim to deliver a broader set of candidates with a wider set of skills across the Boards membership.

Currently, six of the nine members of the NZR Board are directly elected by Affiliated Provincial Unions (PUs).  Under the changes, PU will now directly elect only three members to the Board and nominate a further three, including the Maori Representative.

The PU nominations will be considered by the Appointments and Remuneration Committee, which now must include at least one female member.

The Committee will apply an updated range of skills and competency criteria which will seek to ensure a greater skill mix is achieved on the Board.

"This is a major step forward in ensuring best practice governance processes are applied at the Board level. The changes should lead to a wider range of Board candidates with a greater range of skills and experiences represented at the top table in the future," said NZR Chairman Brent Impey.  

"The recent governance review highlighted that our current process for electing board members tends to narrow down the types of candidates who put themselves forward and acts as a barrier to people who otherwise might stand. Our recent Respect and Responsibility report identified the need for more diverse leadership at all levels of rugby, which is another criteria we need to consider.

"The new board structure opens the way to people with different skills and backgrounds who may not be attracted by an elected process, or who might not normally get elected to the board.

"In my experience across a range of businesses, I believe it’s critical governance boards harvest a broad range of skills and experiences. For example, our Board now requires people with backgrounds in areas such as broadcasting and technology, as we seek to extend involvement in our game to new and different groups.

"This is a major decision that demonstrates NZR is serious about implementing the changes needed to ensure our game is relevant in the future and we have governors with the skills needed to succeed in our new operating environment,"