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'A distraction': NZ Rugby responds to calls for board to stand down

NEWS: New Zealand Rugby has issued a statement responding to the New Zealand Rugby Players Association’s (NZRPA) calls for the NZR board to stand down with immediate effect.

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Last month, NZR proposed a “once-in-a-generation” overhaul of its leadership structure, setting the stage for a power struggle at the top of the country’s most popular sport.

It comes after a scathing independent review concluded that NZ Rugby’s current leadership structure was “not fit for purpose”.

The NZRPA wants an interim group to lead governance change and then be replaced when a board is appointed through a new system.

On Friday, NZR provided an update on governance reform and addressed the NZRPA’s proposal for the board to stand down.

“The New Zealand Rugby [NZR] Board welcomes the New Zealand Rugby Players Association’s [NZRPA] perspective outlined this week on governance reform, which reflects significant points of agreement with NZR’s proposal to deliver that reform,” said the statement.

“In line with the principles NZRPA is advocating for, the NZR Board remains committed to the principle of an independent Board, an independent process for Board appointments and a well-managed transition period.

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“As the independent Governance Review found, a shift from the current representative model of governance to an independent model of governance is critical for enabling the Board to have a single-minded focus on the execution of strategy to best position rugby in the future for all of its stakeholders.

“The Board’s focus is on working with our voting members on the details of a resolution they will support to achieve that objective of a shift to an independent model of governance. Any constitutional change requires a two-thirds majority of votes at a Special General Meeting, so it makes sense to work constructively with voting members ahead of this to ensure we can honour the commitment to an independent model of governance in the best interests of all rugby stakeholders.

“Calls for the current NZR Board to stand down are a distraction and do not accurately reflect the findings of the Governance Review, which was focused on governance reform at a high level, rather than any concerns around the perceived performance of the current Board. The fundamental issue remains the fact that the current governance structure, based on a representative model, is no longer fit for purpose in a changing operating context.

“The significant relevant expertise and experience around the current NZR Board table is reflected by the strong commitment to drive this much-needed governance reform for the good of the game into the future.

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“Over the transition period proposed for implementing the shift to a fully independent model, the entire current Board would go through the independent Board appointment process in less than two years.

“Importantly, this transition enables continuity at a critical time and ensures the change process is well-managed for all stakeholders so that collectively our focus can shift to driving the outcomes we all seek for the game.

“We welcome further constructive engagement with all of our stakeholders to that end, with a view to agreement on a resolution by the end of this month that will deliver governance reform.”

Additional source: NZ Herald

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