Motorsport New Zealand (MSNZ) has had its fair share of criticism over the past decade — and a lot of it deserved.
The most recent saw a fiasco over the sale of Motorsport House in Wellington, and a public hissy fit from then-chief executive Simon Baker, saying he had no faith in president Wayne Christie.
Baker was gone after this latest public spat within MSNZ and many observers were waiting to see what would happen next.
In a surprise move, at least for MSNZ, they got on the front foot and became proactive, after years of knee-jerk reactions and lurching from one chaotic decision to another.
The recent announcement that a rallying working group has been set up indicates the pendulum is swinging in the right direction and the governing body is now beginning to consider potential problems before they happen.
All credit to them and in particular Christie who realises there has to be more transparency and communication around the machinations of MSNZ and its people.
"We thought it was a good time to take a bit of a step back with a group of pretty experienced people in the sport and see what we can build on. We've initiated the rally working group to help draw on a wider pool of experience and ideas to support the work of our Rally Advisory Commission," said Christie.
"We also want to find out what's working for the organising clubs because they are the ones taking the risks of running a rally."
New Zealand's only World Rally Championship round winner Hayden Paddon has always had rallying's best interests at heart and was one of the first to put his hand up and contribute to the working group.
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"Rallying has been through its peak and that's the problem," said Paddon. "We have to have a bigger vision as we're falling back into what it was like five or six years ago.
"I wouldn't say it was my idea, I enjoy helping and reached out to MSNZ to offer my support to what the rally group is trying to do.
"There are no new cars being built and no incentive to get new people involved. It's not only about the national championship it's very much about the structure right from grassroots all the way up to national level. There's not enough support at the lower levels and it's all over the place."
Although this is all good news and shows that MSNZ is willing to acknowledge that not everything is rosy in motor racing, the 800kg gorilla in the corner is the voting structure of MSNZ. A car club with three octogenarians and no interest in racing has the same voting weight as something like the Auckland or Canterbury car clubs.
"We are raising that very point as a discussion item this year with a view of how to balance things out," said Christie.
"It's a hard one and what we really need to do is get the member clubs to start thinking about what is good for the organisation as a whole. And whether the model we have now is the right one for the future."
Another suggestion would be to look at circuit racing in this country. That has been a basket case over the years, especially around the V8 championship. While it's obvious that it's better to spend your energy on fixing one thing at a time, it would be good if this category is shunted towards the top of the to-do list.
"We are looking at circuit racing. We did look at it a few years ago but we probably didn't publicise it as well as we should have. Things have moved on since then and somehow, we have to rebuild the hype and professionalism around that top-level stuff," said Christie.
"We were hoping TCR would help with that, but Covid-19 and a fear of a recession has put a hold on that."
It would appear MSNZ is becoming more self-aware and realise that times are changing. For the sport to survive, let alone grow, Christie and company have their work cut out — but it looks like they've made a good start with the rally initiative.