NZRU swings governance of Highlanders

UPDATED

Notice the DCC connection…bloody hell, what did I say about DCC having its own rugby franchise. Sick dogs.

### Channel 9 News July 1, 2009 – 6:50pm
Highlander’s board to be restructured
The Highlander’s Board is to be restructured, following a review by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union. The ORFU board will now consist of three Independent Directors appointed by the NZRU, one Independent Director appointed by the Dunedin City Council, and three Directors to be appointed by the Provincial Unions within the Highlanders region. NZRU CEO Steve Tew says the changes should assist both organisations improve the on-and-off-field performance of the Highlanders, and ensure that the Franchise is operating in a sustainable way. The new board structure is to be regarded as a transition Board for the next two years.
Ch9 Link

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### TVNZ News Published: 4:51PM Wednesday July 01, 2009
NZRU come to Highlanders rescue
Source: NZPA
The Highlanders franchise has agreed to change its governance and operation, which will include assistance and greater involvement from the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). The NZRU will underwrite the financial performance of the Highlanders for the next two financial years.
Read more

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### ODT Online Wed, 1 Jul 2009
New structure for Highlanders
A new-look board will be required to assess existing business strategies at the franchise and adopt a recovery plan. The NZRU reserved the right to appoint a chairman at any time. The Highlanders have been the least-successful New Zealand franchise in recent years.
Read more

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Wed, 01/07/2009 – 8:52pm.
Comment by russandbev on But how about telling us the whole story?
Some amazing elements to this story which have not yet reached the light of day…Not many would know that The Trusts Charitable Foundation Inc granted the ORFU a sum of $888,577.49 between the 1st April last year and the 31st March of this year. This grant was the single biggest grant that this interesting pub charity granted this last financial year and carried on its support for rugby activities in this city. Cont/
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/63654/new-structure-highlanders#comment-5483

Wed, 01/07/2009 – 6:55pm.
Comment by gplusa on Flogging a dead horse
First we had to buy a new football stadium in order to keep the rugby team. Then we had to buy the old stadium in order to pay off the rugby team’s debts. Now we are having to buy the team itself. Does this sound a bit like Chrysler and General Motors? Propping up a false economy is only delaying its demise. Doing it with public money is downright irresponsible.
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/63654/new-structure-highlanders#comment-5481

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### stuff.co.nz Last updated 15:27 01/07/2009
Highlanders get bailout
By Marc Hinton
The NZRU say the package agreed “reflects our commitment to rugby south of the Waitaki”. It also takes into account the dire situation the southerners have found themselves in.
Read more

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NZRU’s Steve Tew said the Highlanders franchise “has quickly become the runt of the New Zealand rugby litter”…

### ODT Online Thu, 2 Jul 2009
DCC to get role on Highlanders board
By Hayden Meikle
Dunedin City Council chief executive Jim Harland says it is “entirely appropriate” the council will appoint a director to a new-look Highlanders rugby board.
Read more

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### ODT Online Thu, 2 Jul 2009
Rugby: McLauchlan defends Highlanders board
By Hayden Meikle
The Highlanders chairman Stuart McLauchlan is confident he will keep his job despite the looming changes to the franchise’s board. McLauchlan was defiant yesterday when asked to comment on his own future and the performance of a board that has essentially been taken over by the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Read more

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In December 2008 the University Council elected Dunedin accountant Stuart McLauchlan as its new Pro-Chancellor. The role of the Pro-Chancellor includes chairing the University Council in the Chancellor’s absence and serving on committees on behalf of the Chancellor. Mr McLauchlan has been a member of the University Council since 2004. He is a member of the Investment Committee, the Finance and Budget Committee and Chair of the Audit Committee. He is also a Director of the University of Otago Foundation Studies.

Mr McLauchlan began his new role in January 2009.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

15 Comments

Filed under Economics, Politics, Sport

15 responses to “NZRU swings governance of Highlanders

  1. David

    The ORFU – DCC relationship just gets more and more incestuous.

    We’ve got DCC funnelling ratepayers’ money to the ORFU via Delta’s corporate box. (what benefit do ratepayers get from a corporate box?)

    DCC becoming a personal banker and giving out loans – don’t bother applying though – it’s just a few more million for the ORFU.

    DCC borrows money to buy Carisbrook for millions more that it’s worth, so the ORFU can pay them back, pay off their bank loan, and pocket a cool million extra.

    Have a look at positions on Council, CST and ORFU and Highlanders – there’s a lot of intermingling going on, and very few people excusing themselves for conflicts of interest.

    And now the big payback for millions of dollars of ratepayers money? DCC gets a board member on the Highlanders.

    Ratepayers are regarded by those directing the whole sham as nothing more than slaves to rugby – pay up for our rugby mates or we’ll take your house.

    How is this different to theft?

  2. Phil

    It would be naive to suggest that there was no financial offer made from the DCC as part of this deal. Be it in the form of a direct financial injection, or in the form of venue hire subsidy for Carisbrook ( i.e. FREE ). The term of the new board expires prior to the new stadium being available. The new board is being formed to take financial control of the franchise. All the parties on the board are those with a direct financial interest in the board. You don’t get on the board for free. If that was the case then there are people out there more capable of managing a football team than a council group manager.

  3. Holly crap there is some plain insanity out there tonight.

    Phil – no we haven’t bought the team – wtf.

    How many conspiracy theories are going to stem from this one – seemingly dozens.

    David if DELTA want to own a corporate box that is their business, take it up with the board there. But considering so many business deals are done in and around the corporate boxes of stadia, this in itself isn’t a bad move – and one quite possibly repeated the length and breadth of the country.

    For all of your obvious casual rugby followers, this is a move that will actually bring back better RUGBY governance back to the highlanders, and a move greeted well by most in the rugby communities about the country.

  4. David

    Paul says – “David if DELTA want to own a corporate box that is their business”

    As we are their shareholders, and they are required to make decisions that are in the best interests of their shareholders – then it’s our business as well.

    How do their shareholders benefit from the decision to buy a corporate box?

    The answer is they’re only one cog in the plan to funnel as much ratepayers money as possible into the ORFU.

  5. David, you get along to a shareholder meeting and you tell them your concerns. As for benefits of a corporate box, why don’t you ask some with them, I have and I know for a fact, it’s a deal closer, it’s a people introducer, it’s all manner of things that (if you want to use an old phrase) the old boys network need to operate. Sorry if you don’t see the value of this, there are plenty of businesses that wouldn’t be without one for the very simple reason that deals are done over the informality of the corporate box and a schmoozed beer and food, that simply isn’t conducted inside the boring board room (any guesses why they call it the bored room?). It’s exceedingly great if you want to host overseas guests, they love NZ rugby (despite what the locals think of the sport), and yes I KNOW of many a business deal that has been sealed with a sporting spectacle. They see value in it – even if the shareholder doesn’t.

    THE PLAN IS NOT TO FUNNEL TAXPAYER MONEY INTO THE ORFU.

    There is a smoking man with a secret that needs to be exposed, and only Mulder and Scully can get to this secret…

    or

    “You’re travelling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!”

    Conspiracy theory wrapped in silly argument does not make for genuine discourse on the construction of the stadium. But then that is the experience that this site has demonstrated.

    There’s a section within the sociological text, An Invitation to Sociology by P Berger (1963 p 115 Penguin Books) that stunningly sums up my experience with this stadium experience and this blog.

    “Even very intelligent people, when faced with doubt about their roles in society, will involve themselves even more in the doubted activity rather than withdraw into reflection”.

    People come to this blog with good intentions, preconceptions, misconceptions, great knowledge – whatever, but more often than not the end result isn’t a series of conversations in which folk concede or change positions, but rather opinions and preconceptions are entrenched further.

    I am the perfect example of this, for the start (if you read the very first few posts), I was for the stadium as a concept but against the stadium as it was in drawings. I was also very very keen to see more private money involved, but through a series of arguments and fights, rather than concede, I have entrenched the opinion that this is a good development. Perhaps it was the insane and the lunatic claims of terrorism and poo on the beach etc, or it may have been my distrust of career NIMBY’s (how do they come out of the woodwork), or it may be for the very fact that people like David have thrown up every possible reason why this stadium shouldn’t go ahead.

    I’d actually love to meet the 1 person who may have changed their mind pro or anti about the stadium as a result of reading this blog, it would be a fascinating meeting.

    For I have never been privy to anyone who publicly has stated on this blog that they have changed their mind. I could hardly imagine “the Watcher” changing opinions, even if his/her observations are more than likely wrong and the sky isn’t falling.

  6. David

    Ah – so ratepayers get good value from Delta having a corporate box because they do big foreign deals there (in their drunken messy corporate box? That’s funny).

    Paul – you talk about nobody changing position.

    I’ve offered to swap to your side many times.

    All you have to do is give me a sound logical financial arguement of why it’s a good idea.

    You’ve never been able to do this. Ever.

    This tells me that you yourself are backing spending $200m, on something that you don’t really have any idea of if it makes real financial sense or not.

  7. David

    Elizabeth – I laughed this morning when I spotted that as well “The Highlanders are going nowhere”.

    I suppose he is doing nothing more than stating the obvious.

    The problem is the stadium will live or die on the success of a group that has been slowly dying for the last few years.

    If I was going to take a big punt with $200m, I’d only do it on a winning team.

    This council seems to want to punt the whole lot (of our money) on an old nag.

  8. Phil

    The biggest problem that the new board faces is time. 24 months is simply not enough to turn around the public support for a failing football team. The crowds for the first half of next season will be based on how the team fared last season. So there’s a backward step for starters. If they perform better, the interest will be greater, and more people will watch the last 4 or 5 home games. If the result is the same at the end of year one, then the opportunity for significant improvement in the franchise is lost. The new board should have been given a minimum of 5 years, in my opinion.

    The NZRFU have to take a large amount of responsibility here for the current situation. The whole point of the Super rugby competition was that the best players in the country get spread equally around the country. The catalyst at the time was, ironically, Otago, who had the top 3 halfbacks in the country within their ranks. So that was the driver. Had that happened, then the NZ teams would be so evenly matched that we’d be on the edge of our season holder seats every week. But, as was inevitable, the top players chose to stay within their Super franchise, rather than returning to their home province at the end of the season. Aided by incentives from their franchise. And the NZRFU did nothing to stop the process.

    How is that relevant ? Well, with the demise of the original “player sharing” scheme, we are stuck with the players we’ve got. And the record shows that the team is not good enough to draw the support it needs. There’s not the money available to buy a Dan Carter, or a Richie McCaw. The top players needed to enhance a distinctly average team can earn much more over the course of a year in the other rugby money rich provinces. They don’t come up in the draft. That’s the reality of professional sport today. The glory days of a team full of home grown heroes are over. We’ve got a product that our target market doesn’t want to buy. It’s difficult to see how the giant progress required can be achieved in such a short time. I can’t help but worry that this is a hospital pass thrown by the NZFU, just to show that they tried.

  9. Paul;
    DCHL and its subsidiary companies don’t actually have shareholders meetings. They are only obliged to report to the “shareholder”, DCC twice yearly. There is no opportunity for the rank and file shareholders-citizens to make their opinions known. Such are the joys of local government democracy.

    “Even very intelligent people, when faced with doubt about their roles in society, will involve themselves even more in the doubted activity rather than withdraw into reflection.” Your quote.

    Well, doesn’t that just about fit equally to both sides of the debate? About par for the course for sociologists and shrinks. I am surprised Paul, that you would be suckered into this line of thinking. But as you say, you are a perfect example of this.

    As a matter of interest, I would be very keen for you to enlighten us on a few of these so called business deals that you KNOW have been sealed with a sporting spectacle. I am sure you could, even if only to lend credence to your claim.

  10. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 4 Jul 2009
    Hide not commenting
    By David Loughrey

    Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has declined to comment on the Dunedin City Council appointment to the board of the Highlanders franchise.
    Read more

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