New Zealand Rugby to implement serious changes following independent review into off-field incidents

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is to set up an independent complaints systems as a result of its wide ranging review into issues about the game.

The Union also wants to change the culture of binge drinking and separate alcohol from performance on the field.

Chaired by Law Society President Kathryn Beck, the report was sparked in part by incidents like the stripper scandal involving Chiefs rugby players in August 2016.

The review sets out six goals ranging from leadership, to gender diversity and accountability.

Among the recommendations is the introduction of an independent complaints and resolution system by 2019.

"NZ Rugby has recently been dealing with several high-profile situations where people have made complaints in these cases about rugby players, " the review states.

"NZ Rugby needs to act with integrity and demonstrate to complainants their concerns are treated with respect and properly investigated."

The recommendations were approved by the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Board at its August meeting, and implementation is now underway.

NZR Chair Brent Impey welcomed the Review and its recommendations.

"New Zealand Rugby is ready for what's ahead," Impey said.

"The review has confirmed that we have a responsibility to our community to be better leaders, and to create better experiences for people in and around rugby."

Chief Executive Steve Tew said the recommendations are wide-ranging.

"They're not all simple or easy to deliver and nor should they be. We are committing to real change, and to be leaders for that change. The integrity, reputation, and ultimate success of the game in New Zealand depends on this."

NZR has already appointed Nicki Nicol, CFO and Head of Corporate Services to lead the implementation of the review, Tew said.

NZR will prioritise the following actions over the next 12 to 24 months:

  • Establish an Executive Governance Group
  • Create a cross-functional project team
  • Appointment of a Project Manager
  • Develop a Project Plan and integrate the RRR into our 2020 Strategy
  • Development of a Charter that captures NZR's values and aspirations that rugby is for all
  • An Independent Advisory group to provide and advice and receive regular reports

"NZR has clear expectations of our players, coaches, team management, executives, administrators and governors, their responsibilities and how we should conduct ourselves," said Tew.

"In the same way that rugby seeks to do better on the field, this is about improving our performance off the field and improving the future of the game for all New Zealanders."