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New Zealand rugby set for conflict as provincial unions reject NZR's recommendations

By Ben Smith
New Zealand Rugby Union headquarters in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The provincial unions have rejected NZR’s ‘Proposal 1’ governance changes, instead voting in ‘Proposal 2’ at the New Zealand Rugby special general meeting held in Wellington today.


Proposal 2, put forward as an alternative plan by the provincial unions to the recommendations given by the Pilkington Report last year, garnered more than two thirds of the votes required with 69-21 in favour.

A key sticking point of Proposal 2’s plan is that three of the nine NZR board members must have experience on a provincial board.

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Proposal 1 backed by NZR and the NZRPA wanted nine independent directors.

NZRPA Chief Rob Nichol has been vocal in his opposition to Proposal 2, threatening to create a breakaway governance model should it by voted in.

That has become reality now as the provincial unions rallied to shoot down Proposal One.

The NZRPA along with high profiler ex-All Blacks, such as Richie McCaw, Ian Kirkpatrick, Sean Fitzpatrick and Sir John Kirwan, urged the provinces to endorse an independent board under Proposal 1.

The landmark decision threatens to ripple through New Zealand Rugby with conflict now inevitable should Nichol and the NZRPA follow through with his threats.



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Jon 20 days ago

The provincial unions have rejected NZR’s ‘Proposal 1’ governance changes
Wait, wasn’t in the NZR Board that voted today?
That would be why the vote passed, it support from other key members, either NZR, the RPA, or Maori and other etc. Otherwise we would have the status quo until a better proposal came along.

The voting is of course secret, but I’ll be interested who shares their votes and were the tipping point came from. We know it likely, from wehat they have publicly said, that several PUs stopped proposal 1 from happening, but that wasn’t enough votes to elect proposal 2.

I don’t see why all board members aren’t required to have served time with a union. Obviously that can’t be on the board, as there are only so many places available, I assume, but to me that is what a board should be. Just like how canterbury said Fonterra’s board is all made up of former (or maybe still) farmers. I would laugh to find out of that statement wasn’t true though.

Good day for NZ Rugby, excited to see if RPA can setup another body to ensure their interestes. Hopefully this new board would say that all NPC players join the RPA, as they rightfully should, and then we can possible see a true sustainable future at the top of our game rather than this b@arstad SR setup.

Blair 20 days ago

Shame on the PU’s I say. It sounds like old boys who don’t want to give up their grasp on power. Let’s hope we can move through this quickly

NHinSH 20 days ago

Very interested to see what happens, your move NZRPA

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