A senior sporting official has resigned after an employment investigation found his shares-for-advice deal with an outside company represented a conflict of interest.

Hugh Hutchison had been employed since 2010 as a senior commercial adviser at Sport NZ, the taxpayer-backed sports funding agency, but last week departed his position.

A statement from Peter Miskimmin, Sport NZ's chief executive, said: "Hugh has resigned from his role at Sport NZ to pursue other opportunities."

Hutchison, originally from Scotland, had served in the British military and represented the country as a freestyle skier at the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympic Games.


He did not respond to request for comment this week but previously denied any conflict and said it was "an allegation over nothing".

Hutchison is understood to been placed on special administrative leave since the Herald broke news in April of his dealings with mobile app-maker The Sports Agency.

Companies Office filings showed Hutchison had been made a 15 per cent shareholder in The Sports Agency in February.

The company's director, Chris King, said in April a deal had been struck to see Hutchison provide advice in return for his stake. He said the possibility of a conflict had been raised early and he relied on Hutchison to disclose and clear matters with Sport NZ.

King was said to be overseas and unable to comment.

At the time Hutchison disputed this account of the deal, saying it was intended to be a cash-for-shares deal, but as no money had changed hands, the share issue was unwound.

Miskimmon was only alerted to the deal following the shares issue.

The affair prompted the appointment of employment lawyer Maria Berryman to investigate the matter, who interviewed parties spoken to in the Herald report and delivered her report to Miskimmon in late July.

Miskimmon said in his statement: "The investigation determined that a conflict of interest had been established at Sport NZ, but that this did not progress to a point where there was commercial gain or disadvantage to any third party, nor any financial gain to Sport NZ or any of its staff."

Miskimmon defended his handling of the affair and he had liaised with the State Services Commission throughout the process and said the conflict of interest policies at Sport NZ were sufficient.​

"I'm confident that all Sport NZ staff understand their obligations in this area and the standards of conduct the public has a right to expect from them as government employees," he said.