HRNZ AGM: New Consultation Forums and Appointment of Directors

The HRNZ Annual General Meeting on Saturday 14 October unanimously adopted a resolution to introduce new regional and national consultation forums and a new merit and skills-based appointment’s process for the selection of the HRNZ directors.

It was moved by the NZ Standardbred Breeders Association and seconded by Rangiora Harness Racing on behalf the Harness Racing Governance Working Group, a representative group of club leaders who have been working together for the last six months.

The changes were put forward after extensive consultation with clubs and kindred bodies across the country. The final remit was agreed to when The Breeders and the Governance Working Group merged their similar proposals.

Greater Consultation :

Under the structure three regional forums will be established (North Island, Upper South Island and Southern) to coordinate and lead consultation in their area.

The Regional Forums will be responsible for coordination of local matters, seek to vastly improve communication and service sharing, covering clubs, kindred bodies and other stakeholders and being a strong voice of reason and cooperation. HRNZ will have a single point of contact in each region, while still maintaining relations with each club.

The new National Forum will have three nominees of the North Island, The Upper South Island and two from the Southern region with single representatives from the kindred bodies and the small clubs (i.e. those with three or less race days).

The National Forum will participate in the Board's appointments process, advocate on national issues on behalf of the regional forums and be available for consultation with the HRNZ, at management and board level. It will meet regularly.

New Board

HRNZ directors will now be elected by its members at the AGM, the same as for many public companies. Other sporting codes are now treading the same pathway with very similar structures. The recent review of New Zealand Rugby’s governance and other national sporting body reforms provided support for these moves.

An executive recruitment firm experienced in recruiting national sporting body leaders will manage the directors’ recruitment right down to nominating the short list of candidates to an industry panel.

That panel of five will have an independent chair, three persons nominated by the national forum and a nominee of the HRNZ board. The panel will consult the National Forum on the proposed nominees to be offered to the members at the AGM for election.

At the 2024 AGM the board will reduced from eight to seven members. All current directors will retire. They are all eligible to re-apply next year for election.

This replaces the current arrangement of four members elected by the clubs other than ATC and NZMTC, a nominee of each of those clubs and two appointed independents.

HRNZ Chair Phil Holden told members at the AGM to be courageous as they contemplated the remit on governance reform.

He sees this as a positive step forward and wished to thank the Harness Racing Governance Working Group, New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Association and all clubs for their efforts and collaboration.

"It's a major moment for us and will enable the sport to move forward positively."


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