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"A very significant fall back to the status quo": David Pilkington on the NZR Governance proposals

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 25 May 2024, 2:04pm
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

"A very significant fall back to the status quo": David Pilkington on the NZR Governance proposals

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 25 May 2024, 2:04pm

Seven months, more than 100 hours of interviews and 133 pages.

That was what former Port of Tauranga chair David Pilkington undertook when he was appointed panel chair of an independent review of the constitution, governance structure and processes of New Zealand Rugby Union Incorporated.

That review, dubbed the “New Zealand Rugby Governance Review” or “Pilkington Review” and its recommendations, published in August of last year, found that the current governance structure was “not fit for purpose” and that changes must be made for the good of rugby in this country.
It has since had a counter-proposal put forward by a group of provincial union boards, in conjunction with other key stakeholders, known as Proposal Two.

A Special General Meeting has been called for May 30 for those with voting power to decide between adopting the Pilkington Review’s recommendations or Proposal Two.

Pilkington told Newstalk ZB’s Jason Pine that he and his other panel members always knew there would be pushback on their recommendations.

“Any significant change was going to be challenging to the provincial unions, but we made it very clear to the two commissioning parties, the [New Zealand] Players Association and the New Zealand Rugby board, that we would come forward with what we considered to be what the game needed and what represented best practice and not something that would pass by way of vote.”

The fact that the recommendations he and the panel had put forward had not been adopted, 10 months later, only justified the conclusions they came to, Pilkington said.

“That is the inability of the current structure to provide single, clear leadership to rugby across the wider ecosystem [which] is evidence of the chaos over the last 10 months,” he said.

Pilkington made it clear to Pine that he disagreed with the notion that Proposal Two differed only slightly from the review’s recommendations.

“That I think is totally wrong because the PU [provincial unions] proposal will in our view simply reinforce the status quo.”

He said that after speaking with every major stakeholder within rugby in New Zealand over the course of the review process, there were no assertions made that the current structure was working in the best interests of rugby.

“There was widespread recognition that significant change was needed.”

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