High Performance Sport New Zealand has proposed a restructure which could result in job losses and a revision of roles at the organisation.

Plans for a new framework were presented on August 1, and staff were given a period of what one source described as "10 days" to consult and respond.

A statement from HPSNZ said the changes were designed to "fine tune their high-performance delivery in the lead-in to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games" and "strengthen relationships with National Sporting Organisations".

The Herald understands any eventual shake-up might affect managers who work directly with NSOs.


The HPSNZ workplace was reported as having 41 employees on salaries of more than $100,000 in 2015.

Compare that to athletes in Olympic sports who receive annual taxable performance enhancement grants (PEGs) ranging from $60,000 for a gold medallist, to $30,000 for those ranked 9-12 in the world. That also allows them access to coaches, sports science, sports psychology, medicine, nutrition and physiotherapy.

Chief executive Michael Scott has instigated the proposal, now he has had time to assess the organisation after his January start.

"We are at the midpoint in our drive towards Tokyo ... so it's timely to make some adjustments now to enhance our delivery support and increase our probability of success."

Scott said the aim was to review "our athlete performance support and the role of our regional hubs".

The news is the latest chapter in a tumultuous series of recent events within the sporting sector. A series of reviews are ongoing, and key staff such as cycling coach Anthony Peden, football coach Andreas Heraf and rowing high performance manager Alan Cotter have been high profile exits from their respective NSOs.

HPSNZ is also undergoing its own external review to assess the circumstances surrounding allegations Peden received identifiable documentation of athletes' Rio Olympic debriefs. They were supposed to be conducted in confidence and collated anonymously. News on that is expected later this month.

HPSNZ is faced with reassessing the fundamental values of sport in this country and whether the desire for medals or tournament victories has trumped athlete well-being.


The two concepts are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The All Blacks and Black Caps appear to have settled on a collaborative approach which works. Leaders within rugby and cricket have maintained winning cultures of late. It's worth noting they have well-established player associations to negotiate with administrators.

Elsewhere, athlete voices are welling up like a New Zealand sporting version of an Arab Spring. Scott's efforts, combined with the goodwill of his organisation, could be crucial to creating a more balanced sporting environment where talented athletes are not cast aside as collateral damage in the pursuit of gongs.

The revelation of a restructure comes after Grant Robertson, the minister for sport and recreation, rebutted the theme of journalist Dylan Cleaver's "Midweek Fixture" column in Friday's Herald.

Cleaver wrote that New Zealand sport is "fundamentally broken" because of an outdated HPSNZ funding model that "denies access to taxpayer dollars for those who do not achieve results in pinnacle events".

Robertson took issue with that premise, but then concurred with several of Cleaver's points.

"The incidents at Cycling New Zealand and other concerns at the elite level do give us pause for thought as to the impact that a win-at-all-costs attitude is having on athlete welfare," the minister wrote.

"We need to seriously consider how we balance the need to win with the health and wellbeing of our elite athletes."

That, combined with the proposed restructure which the ministry must be aware of, suggests work is required to fix - or at least re-adjust - the priorities of the country's sporting landscape.

Scott has taken the initiative. Now sports fans await the results of his endeavours.