October 2018,

HPSNZ committed to act on recommendations of Heron Review

HPSNZ committed to act on recommendations of Heron Review

High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) has welcomed the findings and recommendations of the Independent Review into the high performance programme of Cycling New Zealand (Heron Report).


“When the report was commissioned in June I committed to accepting all its recommendations. That commitment remains and will be acted upon,” says Michael Scott, CEO of HPSNZ.

The review was commissioned by HPSNZ to determine whether the various allegations made about the culture of the cycling high performance programme (including claims of bullying, inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate personal relationships, a drinking culture, lack of accountability and lack of follow up) were true and if the responses to the allegations from Cycling NZ and HPSNZ were adequate and appropriate.

The Independent Review was conducted by Queens Counsel, Michael Heron and included interviews with current and former athletes, coaches, support staff and consultants of CNZ and HPSNZ.

“The behaviour that the report confirms took place within the Cycling NZ HP programme has absolutely no place in high performance sport in New Zealand. Performance matters, but so do people,” says Mr Scott.

“There is no question HPSNZ could and should have done more with the information we had. This is not something we want to see repeated. To any athletes impacted by the conduct of HPSNZ, we are sorry”.

“As an organisation and as a system, we need to create a better balance between winning on the world stage and the welfare of athletes, coaches and others working within the HP sport. This is something HPSNZ is fully committed to achieving in partnership with sports. Athlete welfare must become New Zealand’s competitive advantage”.

HPSNZ will respond to most of the recommendations through a recently initiated 13 point plan designed to ensure the high performance system, including HPSNZ, continues to evolve so that it meets the needs of athletes, coaches and other key stakeholders. The workstreams contained in the plan address several of the recommendations from the Heron report including Athlete welfare (including an athlete voice mechanism), the HP strategy and investment model and a re-examination of the pinnacle event debrief process.

“Each of these workstreams, and all others within the plan, will have project teams and terms of reference in place before the end of 2018. These project teams will include both internal and external people, with the latter coming from the NZOC, Paralympics NZ, Olympic and non-Olympic sports and the New Zealand Athletes Federation” says Mr Scott.

“This approach will take time. It will also give us the type of response we need. Fit-for-purpose and right for New Zealand.”

In addition to the 13 Point Plan, HPSNZ and Sport NZ will work together on reassessing the business capability support provided to partners and an evaluation of, where required, an update of policies and procedures in relation to athlete safeguarding, privacy, issue and risk escalation, and coach-athlete relationships.
These will be policies that can also be implemented by sports.

“Between these responses, and through the collective efforts of all those working in HP sport in New Zealand, I believe we can create a stronger, more sustainable HP system,” says Mr Scott.

“We expect athletes to get better each year. Athletes can expect the same of HPSNZ and New Zealand’s HP system.”