PHOTO/FILE

CAL ROBERTS
cal.roberts@age.co.nz

Rugby boss Tony Hargood is switching codes for a time, after being selected for the government working group tasked with ensuring fairer pay for workers nationwide.

The Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive has been named one of 10 appointees to the Fair Pay Agreement working group, led by former prime minister Jim Bolger.

He joins the likes of Kirk Hope, chief executive of BusinessNZ, and Richard Wagstaff, president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

The group is expected to spend the rest of the year creating a plan to set up Fair Pay Agreements which will shape the nation’s industrial relations moving forward.

Mr Hargood has a background in finance and operations. He said it was “an honour and a privilege” to be involved.

“If you look at the make-up of the group, they wanted a broad range of people, and I think they looked at my financial, sporting and provincial experience.”

Mr Hargood said he was approached about two months ago and asked to join the working group.

“Initially I took some time to think about it. About three or four weeks ago, I said yes.”

He said wages and fair pay was an important issue for New Zealand’s long-term future, “and I think it is good for the regions to have a voice in that space”.

“The support I’ve had from all around Wairarapa since the announcement has been very gratifying, very positive.”

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said workers and employers know their respective sectors best.

“By working together through effective engagement and bargaining co-operatively, workers and employers can set standards that are relevant to their sector and support productivity and growth.”

Mr Hargood said the working group would meet for the first time by the end of June.

There will be six meetings before reporting back to the minister in November.