Rugby: Provincial unions hold upper hand in battle over governance reforms

The provincial unions believe their governance change proposal is ” the most likely to succeed” among New Zealand Rugby’s voting members, but they admit it’s not a foregone conclusion.

The NZR board, chaired by Dame Patsy Reddy, is working on a modified proposal, rather than wholly accepting the recommendations made in the independent Pilkington review last year.

The New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association (NZRPA) wants the review’s recommendations to be implemented in full, while the provincial unions (PUs) are finalising their own proposal which guarantees provincial union experience on the board.

New Zealand Rugby Chair Dame Patsy Reddy.

That could result in three proposals being voted on at a special general meeting, which should take place in the next three to eight weeks.

Wellington Rugby chair and provincial union spokesperson Russell Poole said early indications suggested the provincial unions’ plan was the most popular.

“Straw polls would indicate that the provincial union proposal is the most likely to succeed. But as we know in any election or with any vote there’s a lot of time between now and when that’s going to happen and politicians will tell you the only vote that counts is the one on the day.”

While the PUs aren’t supporting the Players Association’s proposal to accept the Pilkington report’s recommendations in their entirety, they still hold hope they can align with the NZR board over their governance change ideas.

Poole confirmed the unions and the NZR board will meet again this week to try and find common ground.

“It’s sad that we haven’t quite got there, but we’ve got so close, to the extent that we’re going back around the table again this week just to see if we can get there.

“It’s always been the preferred outcome to try and get something that we can all agree on. We’re still trying hard to see if we can get to one singular paper between NZR board and the PUs and we’ll continue to do that for another week.”

While the Players’ Association and provincial unions are at odds about proposed governance changes, they agree the NZR board should resign and re-apply for their positions under the framework of the review.

“In terms of the board standing down, I’d probably frame it in a slightly different way. The process we’re (PUs) looking at, we probably think it be advantageous that they stand down and be invited to apply.

“We’re not suggesting that in an assertive or aggressive way, it’s just that we think it’s probably the best process around getting from where we are today, to where we need to be.”

On Wednesday, the Players’ Association hit back at NZR board plans to enact an adjusted governance change to the one proposed by the Pilkington report last year.

NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol

In a 16-page document, NZRPA boss association head Rob Nichol reiterated that they had “not supported any of the proposals NZR or the provincial unions have made regarding NZR’s Governance Reform”.

Nichol cited a “lack of trust and confidence in the current leadership of NZR” and is in favour of adopting the recommendations of the report with no concessions.

“It has been eight months since the release of the review. The game is widely regarded as impotent/disorganised and incompetent and is essentially in a state of governance chaos,” the statement read.

“The very issues highlighted in the review and that contributed to its conclusion – that NZR governance is not fit for purpose – are literally manifesting themselves in front of New Zealand’s eyes.

“There is now a leadership vacuum, and, as such, this proposal is designed to fill that vacuum and provide something the entire game can unite behind and support.”

Poole said the provincial unions would not accept the Players’ Association proposal, but he was confident the “much needed” governance changes at NZR would not be derailed by disagreements between the PUs, NZR board and the NZRPA.

“We’re getting close to the finish line. I’m sure the date for the SGM (special general meeting) will be confirmed in the next two weeks and there will either be one, two or three proposals likely to go to that SGM.

“The group of five or six provincial union chairs need to get back to our 26 PUs, no later than early next week. In all probability we’ll be sending the latest paper out to them in the next 48 hours, as they haven’t heard from us in a while whilst these discussions have been going back and forward.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button