'It’s an opportunity for us to take New Zealand to the rest of the world': Steve Hansen reiterates call for Government cash

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has repeated his views that the Government ought to sponsor the rugby national team, saying it’s a world-renowned brand.

Hansen revealed after last month’s Bledisloe Cup-clinching win that he had asked Grant Robertson for funding while the sports minister and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were in the Eden Park changing rooms.

“If you think about the All Blacks and the brand, it’s important that we represent New Zealand really well, and she leads our country.” Source: 1 NEWS

Hansen reiterated those views today in Wellington, saying the brand was world renowned and that’s why he felt the Government should do more for the team and rugby in general.

"It’s not about going cap in hand to the Government, the whole point of making that comment and it’s interesting everybody has jumped on it," Hansen told media in Wellington.

"This is my opinion and people can boo hoo it if they like, I believe the All Blacks over a long time have been a great brand for New Zealand.”

READ MORE: 'Who would put that on a Prime Minister!?' Jacinda asked to choose between cash for grass roots - or keeping Beauden Barrett

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was on the hot seat today, responding to questions about Government money for the All Blacks. Source: Breakfast

"You can go anywhere in the world and people may not know New Zealand, but they’ve heard of the All Blacks, I think it’s an opportunity for us to take New Zealand to the rest of the world by using that brand, be it in tourism, business and that’s why I mentioned they should be one of our sponsors."

Hansen said in his mind, rugby continued to be an important part of New Zealand’s national identity and he felt the country’s top players were missing out on rewards.

"Rugby in this country is an important part of who we are and what we are and not all the money that we make goes to the players, it goes to grassroots and funding development and women’s rugby. I don’t know if you’ve seen the budget but we’re spending more than we’ve got and that’s not a great way to run your budget."

"If the money goes to grassroots and developing women’s rugby and developing young talent to come through and be All Blacks then maybe some of the money we get from Adidas and AIG and our other sponsors can be used to keep players here."

Hansen added that he felt that complacency did not only need to be fought within the team, but by the fans and wider country as well.

"The word complacency has been bandied around about us as a team, we’re fighting it all the time and we need to within our fans and within our country cause I’m sure there’d be a different attitude if this team wasn’t performing."

The All Blacks coach has repeated his views that the government ought to sponsor the world-renowned national team. Source: 1 NEWS



John Armstrong: As Labour fast loses the plot, Sunday's moment of coalition unity was priceless

There’s no show without punch, and although Winston Peters did not say much, he said enough. Unlike the Prime Minister who was something of a disappointment.

Last Sunday’s carefully stage-managed display of unity by Jacinda Ardern and her deputy was not so much a case of fake news as one of fabricated news.

It was somehow befitting of the barmy politics emanating daily from the Government benches in Parliament that the coalition Government should half-celebrate its 12-month birthday having been in the job for just on 11 months.

A carefully-chosen audience was corralled on Auckland’s AUT campus to hear — or rather endure — Ardern taking close to half-an-hour to spell out her Government’s 12 priorities.

1 NEWS' Jessica Mutch and Benedict Collins give their opinions of the Acting Prime Minister who ran the country during Jacinda Ardern’s maternity leave.
Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

Admittedly, it is difficult to inject excitement into a discussion of the virtues of intended alterations to the structure of the various Cabinet committees which meet weekly in the Beehive.

But one further priority would be finding a new speech writer for the Prime Minister before someone falls asleep and drowns in the verbiage. Or simply dies of boredom.

The said wordsmith's job is probably safe, however. The strict instruction from upon high would have been not to include the merest morsel of anything that those listening might find interesting — and which would detract from the whole purpose of the occasion, specifically the need for the Government to project an image as rock solid unified.

The political pantomime had one overriding objective — convincing an increasingly sceptical public that although Ardern and Peters might not always be on the same page, they are still capable of trading smiles on the same platform after 11 months of jostling one another.

While the Labour-New Zealand coalition has witnessed sporadic bouts of internal guerrilla warfare in recent times and principally on New Zealand First’s part, it is vastly over-dramatising things to suggest this so far occasional rebellion could become full-blown civil war.

So there was no chance of Peters going AWOL last Sunday. It would, however, have helped the coalition’s cause considerably had he uttered the immortal words "of course she's driving the car" during the earlier stages of the developing friction between the partners in Government. He was unwilling on Sunday to stretch the metaphor any further. But when it comes to back-seat driving or driving backwards, Peters is a master.

He has not taken on board any perceivable role as a back-room fixer for the coalition despite such a role having the capacity to alleviate some of the huge pressures weighing on Ardern’s shoulders.

He has instead exploited her inexperience as Labour’s leader and the fact that she spreads herself thin to bolster his party’s leverage within the coalition.

It is such game-play good that threatens the Government’s stability. It is not so much that the partners might clash over policy. As Ardern repeatedly notes, the coalition comprises three parties. There is always going to be disagreement over policy.

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships - John Armstrong

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships; whether, to use the parlance, they act on the basis of good faith and no surprises.

Ardern’s response to suggestions of disunity is to pretend there is none when she is so questioned. That is not credible.

She has now sought to brush off those claims made by her opponents by creating a distraction through repackaging her party’s priorities and relaunching them as a "coalition blueprint" under the title of Our Plan.

It would not have taken Labour’s spin-doctors long to dream up that title. It is the exact same one as used by National during the John Key-Bill English years in their similar quest to turn New Zealand into Utopia.

The only difference between Labour’s and National’s respective efforts was that Key was dismissive of such "vision documents". They might be useful in listing goals. They rarely provide detail of the means to be adopted to reach those goals. The day-to-day pressures of political life inevitably result in the prime minister of the day focusing heavily on short-term political management. Concentrating on the long-term can always be postponed to another day.

National’s various versions of vision have accordingly sunk without trace. That experience would have been a factor in Simon Bridges’ acidic observation that there was nothing in the long list of platitudes, banalities and truisms in Ardern’s blueprint which he would find hard to swallow. He isn’t wrong.

The producers of Ardern’s massive missive may have feared the same fate awaits their product as afflicted National’s equally turgid equivalent, creation.

That hurts. But Bridges is making the pertinent point that Ardern’s claim that her plan amounts to a "shared vision" of the three parties in her governing arrangement is utterly meaningless.

All it says is that the three-party grouping stretches so far across the political system that National can be accommodated with room to spare.

That makes it hard to keep the whole show on the road at the best of times.

With ministers falling like nine-pins, bureaucrats thinking nothing of splashing out $1.5 million on a justice policy summit and private consultants growing fat on the tidy sums to be made from servicing the plethora of working parties and task forces doing the work that career public servants are arguably better left to do, Labour is fast losing the plot.

But never mind. Ardern and her colleagues got what they wanted. That was a minute or two of coalition unity at the top of the six o’clock news. Given Labour’s growing malaise, that’s priceless.

The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

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New law in California limits plastic straws in restaurants

People who want straws with their drinks at California restaurants will have to ask for them under a new state law.

The law signed today by Governor Jerry Brown makes California the first US state to bar full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. It takes effect next year.300

The law doesn't ban plastic straws outright like some cities have.

Restaurants that don't comply will get two warnings before being fined up to NZ $450 per year. It will apply only to full-service restaurants, not fast food establishments.

Democratic lawmakers who support the law call it a small step toward reducing ocean pollution.

Plastic is bad, including straws, but the trouble is other options don’t always do the trick. Source: Seven Sharp

The law comes as cities and businesses around the world experiment with ditching the plastic products.

In April, 26 bars, restaurants, cafes and food trucks along Wellington's waterfront pledged to go plastic straw free.

"Our primary position is no straw if we can get away with it, but if somebody request one we will put one in the glass," Munchen Bar owner John Henderson told 1 NEWS at the time.

Businesses in Rangiora in North Canterbury have made similar moves, and politicians in the United Kingdom have announced straws will be banned there as early as next year.

Critics argue California's new law is government overreach that won't significantly improve the environment. Some say restricting straws hurts disabled people who rely on them.

Allison Franklin from Christchurch is passionate about the environment, but she also wants to use a plastic straw. Source: 1 NEWS

But straws are an eyesore that litter beaches around the world, and banning them is a step in the right direction, advocates in New Zealand agree.

"If you walk along beaches, especially Oriental Bay and Evans Bay (in Wellington), you'll see plastic straws strewn around the beaches," Oliver Vetter of Sustainable Oceans told 1 NEWS after the voluntary business ban in Wellington.

"We pick up about ten thousand straws a year just as part of our Love Your Coast program in Wellington."

Twenty-six bars, cafes, restaurants and food trucks on the waterfront are trialling a plastic straw-free future. Source: 1 NEWS

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Private housing tenants evicted over meth contamination should also be compensated, says advocate

Tenants in private housing incorrectly evicted as a result of methamphetamine contamination testing should also be in line for compensation, according to Action Against Poverty.

Ricardo Menendez, from Action Against Poverty, said as many as 2400 evicted tenants should be in line for compensation despite Housing Minister Phil Twyford announcing yesterday that around 800 Housing NZ tenants would be reimbursed for costs related to their evictions.

“These (the 800) would have the Housing NZ tenants that would have fallen into the catchment but I do feel that all tenants should be up for compensation as well even though some (were in) private housing,” Mr Menendez told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“A lot of these tenants were evicted through the testing as a way to pave for redevelopments or developments for housing so I think it was just an excuse to push people out of their communities."

Housing NZ tenant Kathleen Paraha said she the meth contamination evictions had taken an enormous toll, with WINZ blaming innocent people for being evicted.

"These people have lost their furniture, their clothing, and when they go to WINZ, they’ve been declined of clothing and stuff because they think it’s been contaminated so they’re not offering enough,” she said.

“They’ve been put in debt because they’ve been evicted, because WINZ have been saying that they did this themselves, it’s their fault.”

“For one thing they should clear the debt that the government has put them in the first place.”

“They’ve been told to pay for their motel bills if they put them into motels, they’ve been told to pay for it because it’s their fault.”

Kathleen Paraha said the Housing NZ evictions took an enormous personal toll on those evicted, putting people in debt and often leading to drug use among those left homeless. Source: Breakfast


'I'm sure we'll see his game go to even greater heights' - All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs long term deal with NZ Rugby

Star winger Rieko Ioane has committed to the All Blacks for four more years in a significant win for New Zealand Rugby.

The 21-year-old, who has scored 18 tries from 18 Tests, was the subject of intense offshore club interest but has chosen to remain put at his Super Rugby team the Blues.

His deal is the longest of any current All Black, taking him to the end of 2022.

Ioane was last year crowned World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and was also a nominee for the main award.

His electric pace and nose for the tryline has been a key element for the world champions, most notably on last year's tour of Europe when he single-handedly proved the difference in Test wins over Scotland and Wales.

"I want to give it my best shot at serving the black jersey and, hopefully, I'll get the chance to play at the Rugby World Cup in the future. That's a huge motivator for me," he said.

Akira Ioane was an unlucky exclusion from Steve Hansen's squad this morning.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ioane's older brother Akira, 23, has also extended his NZ Rugby contract, until 2021.

The powerful Blues No.8 is yet to be capped but played a midweek match for the All Blacks in France last November.

Both brothers are former New Zealand sevens stars who are regarded by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as among the country's premier young players.

"With his growing maturity and growth in his game understanding, I'm sure we'll see Rieko's game go to even greater heights," Hansen said.

"Akira is also an immense talent who has a bright future in our national game and we congratulate him on his decision as well."

(L to R) Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane,
All Blacks training session ahead of the upcoming test series against France. Alexandra Park. Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 22 May 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane during an All Blacks training session in Auckland. Source: Photosport


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