NZRU 2012 Annual General Meeting

New Zealand Rugby Union issues report card on national game's biggest year

  • NZRU 2011 Annual Report released
  • Organisation achieves highest scoreboard result since 2006
  • Three director positions filled

New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) Chairman Mike Eagle today thanked New Zealand for backing the All Blacks and ensuring Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) was a huge success.

He delivered his message at the 120th Annual General Meeting of the NZRU held in Wellington this morning.

"Our thanks go to New Zealanders for getting in behind the team and for welcoming the world - the fans, the volunteers, all of us played a part in the success of a tournament which put us in the global spotlight like no other event has.

"Without a doubt our investment in Rugby World Cup is paying off.  Our Rugby World Cup legacy programme is all about using the tournament to grow the game and there are already promising early signs in player registrations. Rising numbers coming through the gates at Investec Super Rugby or watching from home on Sky TV are also encouraging."

The NZRU today released its 2011 Annual Report (see link below).  As announced in April, NZRU posted an improved bottom line profit of $9.6 million, which reflected the foreign exchange wash up from the NZRU's investment in RWC 2011. However, the NZRU also recorded a loss of $3.1 million from day to day operations.

Improved 2012 operating result forecast

NZRU is forecasting a break even operating result this year, but Mike Eagle warned that the difficult economic environment continued to pose significant challenges. 

"High debt and operating losses for some unions show that the challenge to live within our means remains a very real one.  

"It is heartening that in the past year 18 of our 26 unions were back in the black. In 2010, the picture was much worse with just eight unions posting a profit. But we all have to do better and return to a path of sustainable and growing profits. If we don't do that debt will grow and end up depriving us of the means to nurture the game."

He said reducing costs must remain a critical focus, but the NZRU had a fresh challenge in that regard with the unbudgeted costs associated with the need to relocate to new premises because of the earthquake rating on its Wellington headquarters.

Mike Eagle said growing revenue remained a key priority for the organisation.

"The partnerships with major international companies together with the huge number of fans we have around the world show we have a powerful global brand.  We are convinced we can extract more value from it.  But to do that, we need to be innovative and not be afraid of change even if it involves some risks."

New director appointed

The AGM also confirmed directors for three vacant positions on the NZRU Board. Only one nomination was received for the North Zone representative and for the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board representative. Consequently:

  • Bruce Cameron was elected as the North Zone Representative. He is currently the Chairman of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union;
  • Wayne Peters, who is the incumbent Maori Representative, was re-elected. As the incumbent, he is currently Chairman of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board. 

Richard Hunt was re-elected as the Central Zone Representative. The other nomination was Rhys Barlow, a former Chairman of the Wellington Rugby Football Union. Richard Hunt was formerly the Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union Chairman and was elected to the NZRU Board last year to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of the late Jock Hobbs.

Mike Eagle said: "We welcome Bruce to the Board and congratulate Richard on his re-election and look forward to their contributions in helping us tackle the significant issues we face on and off the field.

"We also look forward to Wayne Peters continuing his good work around the table and as Chairman of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board in fostering a productive relationship with Maori in rugby."

NZRU Scoreboard result

NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said the organisation had a good year in terms of meeting its own performance targets with the overall Scoreboard rating of 78.5 per cent being the highest for the NZRU since 2006.

"It was particularly pleasing that we continued to make progress across all key areas even with the focus on RWC 2011." 

The rating is based on achievements under each of the pillars of the organisation's vision: Strong Community Rugby, Winning All Blacks, Outstanding Competitions, Effective Structures, Positive Global Presence, and Inspirational Rugby World Cup 2011.
"The rating is a fair reflection of our performance, particularly the importance we placed on winning RWC 2011. We achieved 34 out of 35 per cent for our national teams' success and achieved everything we said we would in relation to our positive global presence and delivering an inspirational RWC 2011 and Community Rugby Legacy Plan.

"We didn't achieve all our targets in 2011, mainly in the areas of player and coach recruitment and retention and improving on fan support for the game.  But there are certainly encouraging signs this year in terms of registrations and strong crowd and TV audience figures for Investec Super Rugby."

Other items of business 

John Sturgeon Life Membership

West Coast rugby stalwart and former NZRU President John Sturgeon was confirmed as a Life Member of the NZRU.  John has served as an NZRU Councillor, managed the All Blacks from 1988 to 1991, was elected NZRU President in 2009 and was awarded an MBE in 1991 for services to sport.

Independent Director definition

The definition of Independent Director was amended to remove the restriction around a director needing to have not held a position in the NZRU, any subsidiary or affiliated body or subsidiary for the previous 12 months, providing that person resigns immediately from any such position if appointed as an Independent Director.