When the New Zealand Rugby Union was first mooted as a national body in 1891, it was on the basis of ensuring there was a common approach to “how the game was played” (the rules and interprovincial competitions), but not to determine how clubs should govern themselves, their finances, or their members. It must be remembered that the desire to form the national body came “from the grassroots”, with those from community clubs determining the rules and becoming the national body’s representatives. This grassroots link was fundamental to the purpose of the national body.

(100 years ago, the New Zealand Rugby Union Board of 1924)

Today, in New Zealand it may be that sport governance models increasingly “follow the money”. Amateur clubs that benefit from trickle-down payments from national bodies (in many cases largely operated as commercial enterprises, focused on maximising commercial opportunities), may be inclined to acquiesce (rather than actively debate) constitutional directives from the top of the governance pyramid if there is likely to be a financial impact from doing so.

To be clear, there are some benefits to top-down constitutional design, (for example, to ensure that rules concerning affiliation are clearly articulated), but there are also risks, (for example, in directing clubs as to how they should manage their independent affairs more generally). On balance, if the top-down constitutional design is being undertaken without bottom-up grassroots representative consultation, there is a high risk that the process will be flawed. Clubs should be wary of adopting conditions and obligations imposed on them, which have no direct relevance to their community stakeholders or to the sporting purpose of their existence.

("Trickle-down" financing has the risk of influencing governance decisions for clubs)

Ideally, the solution can be found in a "congress of clubs", regional organisations (representative of these clubs) and the national body, where proposed changes can be discussed, negotiated and agreed. This in fact is the intention of the new Act, which (according to the reports being received from the grassroots), is not being undertaken in practice.

“Finem respice” is the best advice, (i.e., "look to the end, before beginning").