Farah Palmer says Silver Lake, NZ Rugby deal 'the best option for all rugby'

By Te Ao - Māori News

Yesterday's inaugural general meeting between the provincial unions and Rugby New Zealand saw a unanimous vote to sell a 12.5% stake in its commercial interests to US private equity firm Silver Lake.

However, the $387.5 million deal is not completely done yet as approval needs to come from the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, which has expressed concerns about the commercialisation of Māori and Pacific culture.

NZ Māori Rugby chair Dr Farah Palmer spoke to Te Ao Tapatahi this morning about how the deal was done.

"It's been a long time that we have been contemplating all of our options and, ultimately, we felt that this was the best option for all of rugby," she says.

"For the provincial unions, it's about 'what do we need right now?' and' what do we need in order to make our finances healthier?'. I think all the unions and the NZ Māori board could see the benefits.

"What is really making Silver Lake the best option is that they provide us with that technology capability and that's where we think we can get the biggest revenue growth."

Good faith

People close to the NZRU have been calling for the ousting of the bosses of the NZRPA. Dr Palmer believes the players and the NZRU are negotiating in good faith.

"The ball is really in the Players Association's court right now because we do need its support.

"We want to continue to engage in good faith," she says.

Silver Lake has also helped with making the UFC a bigger money maker. When asked if important All Blacks matches could become pay-per-view, as the UFC does with special match cards, Dr Palmer says she doesn't know.

"What I do know is that we've got systems in place with the NZ Rugby board. We believe that we have put in enough protections and elements to still have a decision-making role and where we go in the future. "