New Zealand Rugby announces culture review


New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced a review into its policies and programmes in the wake of a series of scandals involving players, and the organisation's responses.

NZR chairman Brent Impey says the review will consider what further action needs to be taken "to build a culture of respect and responsibility in the professional rugby environment".

The review panel will be chaired by New Zealand Law Society president Kathryn Beck. Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington, former All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson, and former All Blacks Michael Jones and Keven Mealamu are among the panel members.

"Rugby in New Zealand is in a unique position where it should be able to inspire and encourage New Zealanders  young and old  to be the very best people they can be," says Ms Beck.

The panel also includes Sport NZ Board member Jackie Barron, New Zealand Cricket and Hurricanes board member Liz Dawson, former World Anti-Doping Agency head David Howman, and HR and communications executive Kate Daly.

Mr Impey says the panel has been asked to convene at least once before the end of the year, with further meetings to be held in the new year.

"A preliminary report will be provided to the NZR board in April 2017, and we expect to be able to share the outcomes of the review in May 2017," he says.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is pleased the panel has been announced, but stressed a lack of diversity on their national board is a problem and women need to be represented.

Currently, the board is made up of nine men, including one Māori rugby position. Dr Blue says they need to create a women's rugby position on the board.

"There is clear evidence that boards influence the culture and direction of business," she says.

"Having a woman's perspective on the board, especially when NZ Rugby are currently addressing conduct and attitudes toward women within their organisation, is paramount."