Wellington Scoop

Cricket, roads, and apologies

by Lindsay Shelton
An apology at the Basin Reserve from the chairman of the NZ Transport Agency? Well, yes and no. Chris Moller is not only chairman of the Transport Agency. He’s also chairman of New Zealand Cricket. Yesterday’s apology was in his cricketing capacity. He was apologising to former Black Caps captain Ross Taylor. A headline today calls it “Taylor-Gate…a sorry saga.”

For many of us, this is the first time we’d realised that Chris Moller held both jobs – the boss of roading as well as the boss of cricket.

Covering yesterday’s apology and press conference at the Basin Reserve, Jonathan Millmow reports in the DomPost:

Chris Moller looks shorter and older than the last time he appeared. He spends ten minutes reading from a prepared statement then invites questions but none on the captaincy…He talks about constitution. Many in the room want an execution…Moller is running the shop so tightly that he is asking his own questions and answering them.

Which is an echo of the way that Moller’s Transport Agency handled public consultation on roading changes around the Basin Reserve. It restricted public input to two options which it had chosen, and both of them were a flyover. It tried to stop the public from supporting non-flyover alternatives.

Barbed criticism of Chris Moller’s cricketing chairmanship was published yesterday by the DomPost. Its columnist Mark Reason wrote:

The buck can’t stop with [Black Caps coach] Hesson … He is just the end of the current timeline. The start is when Chris Moller became chairman of New Zealand cricket in August, 2010. Since coming into the role Moller has overseen the appointment of a coach who couldn’t work with his director of cricket, he has lost a chief executive, and he has allowed a new coach to come in who sabotaged his captain. That captain was described, on Moller’s watch, as the outcome of a “robust” selection process and “the right man for the job”. It’s risible. It has also been remarked that Hesson was chosen by a panel that included Stephen Fleming, the manager and business partner of [new captain] Brendon McCullum. That is a grotesque conflict of interest that is all too common in the incestuous world of New Zealand cricket. Moller should take responsibility for this shambles. He has overseen an unstable period of intrigue and treachery.

The issue of conflict of interest having been raised, it’s time to ask questions about Chris Moller’s stance towards the Basin Reserve Trust’s controversial demands to be given a new grandstand to hide the flyover from cricketers. As chairman of both the roading and cricket organisations, has he had to declare a conflict of interest when this subject has been discussed? And how can it be possible for government roading funds to be used for a grandstand?

The DomPost’s Millmow also raises a question about Chris Moller’s multiple chairmanships:

Moller is chairman of four boards but denies he is distracted by his workload. The evidence suggests he might be.

So it becomes relevant to ask whether he’s had enough time to recognise the extent of local opposition to the flyover proposal. Has he had time to consider the two options which don’t involve a flyover? Has he asked his Agency to re-assess its opposition to Option X, as recommended by Opus Consultants in 2011? Has he asked it to work with Richard Reid on his widely-discussed option?

I haven’t read any criticism of Chris Moller’s chairmanship of the Transport Agency. But criticism of his chairmanship of NZ Cricket continues, with Stuff reporting that a call for his resignation was made yesterday on LiveSport:

Former New Zealand batsman and national coach Mark Greatbatch is calling for New Zealand Cricket chairman Chris Moller to fall on his sword in the wake of the captaincy saga. Greatbatch is adamant Moller’s first move should be to resign … ”For me, the chairman of the board has been involved with too many underhand dealings in the last two or three years. I think it’s time for him to move on.”

There were no resignations, only the chairman’s apology at yesterday’s cricketing press conference. But ironically, in another part of town the Transport Agency was apologising too, after morning traffic was delayed by an equipment failure on State Highway One. The DomPost reported a 10km backlog from Johsonville back to Porirua. The Agency’s apology thanked drivers for their patience. Some drivers would have been just as angry as many in the cricketing world.

TV3: Chris Moller apologises to Ross Taylor and his family


  1. Lindsay, 13. December 2012, 14:26

    Chris Moller’s current directorships
    Chairman, Meridian Energy
    Chairman, New Zealand Transport Agency
    Chairman, New Zealand Cricket Inc.
    Chairman designate, Skycity Entertainment Group Limited
    Director, International Cricket Council
    Director, Rugby New Zealand 2011 Limited
    Director, NZX Limited
    Director, Westpac New Zealand Limited

  2. Maximus, 13. December 2012, 16:16

    The man is clearly over-stretched and should relinquish a number of those Chairs or Directorships. Take a break Chris! Get someone else to take the load, because you’re just not cutting it any more….

  3. Joanna, 13. December 2012, 16:29

    I find this a shocking revelation. What concerns me even more than the cricket debacle, is the clear conflict of interest over the roading proposals for the Basin Reserve. I hope the fact that Moller is chairman of NZ Cricket gets wide publicity.

  4. Geoff, 13. December 2012, 19:43

    Surely we can make far better use of the Basin Reserve than a cricket ground that gets used 10 times a year.

  5. elmer, 14. December 2012, 9:53

    The most important point seems to be that Chris Moller is a little too close to the “grandstand” deal for comfort. Assurances on the proposed new grandstand at the Basin in return for Trust support for the flyover always seem to have been done on a nod and a wink. Your detective work seems to have revealed the main player in these backroom conversations.

  6. Maximus, 15. December 2012, 13:59

    i don’t think that Chris Moller has tried to hide any of these facts, that he has sticky fingers in many pies. He is probably inordinately proud of himself for managing to be such a multi-tasking male, and i doubt he gives a rats arse to whether he gets wide publicity for this, or not. In fact, he’ll probably love it.
    But yes, clearly the man is stretched in his duties, as well as conflicted beyond belief (even more of a joke than his dismally performing Black Caps). Stick to your baking Moller – and try not to eat all of it…

  7. Alana, 15. December 2012, 16:59

    It appears to be a direct conflict of interest and the interest losing in the conflict is cricket generally and the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground in particular if Moller’s NZTA is allowed to build a 3 storey tall motorway right next to it.

  8. Trish, 16. December 2012, 12:23

    So that explains how NZTA managed to come to an agreement with the Basin Reserve Trust about a free grandstand while they swore that they were treating all “stakeholders” equally, and giving the Trust the same briefing that they offered Mt Victoria residents. They claimed that “Mystery” Morrison’s Trust had no special access to NZTA. Yeah right.

  9. Michael Gibson, 16. December 2012, 16:59

    I think they can get away with it when they are not involved with statutory bodies like the Wellington City Council.
    What is quite wrong is when Councillors with commercial interests are paid $15,000 a year for it & begin voting to promote those interests, such as having more buildings on the waterfront.