Independent complaints mechanism

Sport New Zealand (Sport NZ) and High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) are committed to supporting athletes, coaches and others working within the New Zealand sport system.

To help with this, Sport NZ and HPSNZ have established an independent complaints mechanism which is designed to enable people to raise concerns relating to inappropriate or objectional behaviour within high performance sport.

The service is an interim mechanism that facilitates the fair and efficient resolution of complaints while a system wide permanent solution, spanning both high performance and community sport, is developed.

The service allows complainants to contact an independent person who will work with them to help them resolve their concerns.

All complaints will go through to independent senior lawyers Steph Dyhrberg and Johanna Drayton who are experienced in dispute resolution.

Dial 0800 776 788 for a confidential call.

Calls can be made to the above number at any time. Calls between 9:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday will be answered by an independent lawyer and messages can be left outside those hours. Calls will be actioned as soon as practical and be treated with care and confidentiality.

You can also use the form at the end of this page.

Who can complain?

Where a National Sporting Organisation (NSO) has high performance carded athletes, anyone can raise a complaint about high performance or campaign athletes, employees or contractors of the NSOs, as well as HPSNZ and Sport NZ staff embedded in the NSOs.

What can I complain about?

Complaints may be raised in relation to any of the following matters:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Inappropriate behaviour
  • Risks to player wellbeing, including mental health issues
  • Breaches of any applicable NSO Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics.

Note: This complaint process will not deal with the following matters, which are subject to the jurisdiction of the Sports Tribunal:

  • Anti-doping rule violation procedures
  • Appeals by athletes against decisions denying a therapeutic use exemption
  • Appeals by athletes regarding funding
  • Appeals against selection or disciplinary decisions of NSOs or the New Zealand Olympic Committee
  • Matters referred to the Sports Tribunal with the agreement of the parties or matters already being considered by the Sports Tribunal
  • Matters referred to the Sports Tribunal by Sport NZ.

What can I expect?

  • The independent facilitator will listen to your complaint.
  • The facilitator will tell you whether your complaint is something that can be dealt with through this process and, if not, whether there are other options for pursuing your complaint.
  • They will ensure that you have all the information that is necessary for your complaint to be dealt with.
  • If the complaint can be dealt with through this process and does not need to be escalated for any reason, the facilitator will attempt to facilitate a resolution between the parties.
  • If agreement is reached the key terms will be recorded in writing by the facilitator and sent to both parties.
  • If agreement is not reached, the facilitator will discuss with you what your options are.
  • The details of all complainants will be kept confidential by the facilitator unless the facilitator deems there is an imminent risk of serious harm.
  • While complaints will be kept anonymous as far as possible, effective dispute resolution usually requires the active participation of all parties. If the facilitator considers it necessary to disclose complainant details to enable complaints to be effectively addressed, they will seek consent from the complainant before disclosing any complainant details.

Complaint form

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Coming soon...Sport and Recreation Mediation Service

With endorsement from the Sport NZ and HPSNZ Boards, Sport NZ is now moving to establish a new Sport and Recreation Mediation Service (SRMS) for all participants and athletes - from community to elite level.

The establishment of this service is one of the 22 recommendations arising from Sport NZ’s Integrity Review. In 2019, Sport NZ commission Philippa Muir of Simpson Grierson to complete a feasibility study into the creation of a system wide mechanism to handle complaints and resolve disputes for all levels of the system. 

A copy of the final Simpson Grierson feasibility study can be found below.

The new service will replace the Interim Complaints Mechanism stood up by High Performance Sport NZ in 2019.

An independent service provider for the SRMS will be identified through an open tender process, which should enable the service to be launched before the end of the year.

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