Apr 132013

New Zealand Cricket chairman Chris Moller has refused to rule-out standing for re-election to the board despite all seven directors agreeing to resign.

Moller has also told the Sunday Star-Times that incumbent directors are considering standing for reappointment too, motivated by “antics” and a “very negative campaign” aimed at NZC – a campaign which Moller says is “backfiring”.

Former New Zealand captain John Parker has been the spokesman for a high-profile group of identities trying to trigger change within NZC, including at board and constitutional level.

The Star-Times has revealed Sir Richard Hadlee, John Wright, John Morrison, Martin Crowe and Glenn Turner are all connected to the group.

“Some of the antics that are going on, including what I consider to be a very negative campaign, have hardened the resolve of some board members to stand,” Moller told the Star-Times yesterday.

“I’m not saying they have necessarily decided to do so, but it’s certainly backfiring, in my view. I’ve had two directors this morning saying to me their feeling is they’re going to stay on and put their names forward as a direct consequence of the antics that we are seeing.”

Asked whether his peers’ reactionary attitude was appropriate, Moller declined comment.

“Those directors can make their own choices, it’s not for me to comment on their individual approaches,” he said.

“I haven’t made any decisions on that [standing for re-election], my focus is to manage through the governance changes in the best interests of NZC and make a conclusion at that point in time.”

Last week the Star-Times revealed details of the emails written by Parker, and obtained by this newspaper. The emails include allegations of conflicts of interest within the present NZC environment.

Parker yesterday declined to comment on the allegations.

Moller confirmed NZC has a “register of interests” which is updated on a rolling basis and that any director with a conflict may not be involved in board meetings when certain issues arise.

Moller confirmed specific conflicts on the NZC register include his own position as a director of Westpac Bank, Therese Walsh’s position as a director of Television New Zealand, Don McKinnon’s position as a director of Crown entity High Performance Sport New Zealand and former Radio Sport boss Bill Francis’s role as the chief executive of the Radio Broadcasters Association.

Moller said it is “frankly naive” to enforce a board policy where no directors have conflicts and that as long as conflicts are declared and appropriately handled, there is no problem whatsoever.

“The issue is not whether people have a conflict, the issue is whether they disclose those conflicts and how they manage them.

“Anyone who thinks differently, frankly, is naive and doesn’t have any understanding of how corporate governance operates in the commercial world. New Zealand Cricket has a register of interests and it’s discussed and updated at the start of every meeting.

“As the meeting progresses, the board member will disclose the conflict again and the board will then decide whether that director needs to remove him or herself from the room. In some circumstances, the board member may not be able to receive the paper, and furthermore, may not be able to receive the minutes.”

Brent King, the most recent director to leave the board of NZC, told the Star-Times that balance of experience and skills is the most important consideration.

“Every single director I worked with in my time on NZC had the best interests of cricket at heart. Each and every single one of those people has been very well qualified and very competent,” King said.

“The only question I’d have is have we had the right balance on that board?

“My question wouldn’t be about competency, more about the make-up of the particular group.”

– © Fairfax NZ News

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