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Haden survives - for now

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Andy Haden
Andy Haden

Wellington, July 9 NZPA - Andy Haden hasn't been sacked from his role as a Rugby World Cup ambassador over his comments about rape, at least not yet.

Minister in charge of the tournament Murray McCully says he will talk to the former All Black about his inappropriate comments.

"Naturally I am disappointed to again be in a situation where Mr Haden's comments have provoked public controversy," Mr McCully said this afternoon.

"It is not possible to combine the roles of television rugby shock-jock and 2011 ambassador -- this is something I will discuss with Mr Haden quite soon."

Haden previously survived a sacking when he apologised for causing offence with his claim on Sky TV's Deaker on Sport programme that the Crusaders rugby franchise had race-based selection policies which restricted recruiting to only three "darkies".

Now, on the same programme, he has this week commented on historic sex allegations against former All Black Robin Brooke, made by two unnamed women, one of whom subsequently laid a complaint with police.

"There's a bloke called Hugh Grant. He got into a bit of trouble like this and I think if the cheque bounces sometimes, they only realise that they've been raped, you know, sometimes," he said.

Haden said there were two sides to every story.

"It's an equal society now, some of these girls are targeting rugby players and they do so at their peril today, I think."

Mr McCully said he had seen part, but not all, of the comments Haden made on the programme on Wednesday night.

Rape support groups have criticised Haden and Prime Minister John Key, who is visiting China, has said he intends talking to Mr McCully about the latest controversy.

Labour's Rugby World Cup spokesman Trevor Mallard said Haden should be removed immediately.

"He has already upset many people with his recent comments about darkies and racial quotas in rugby and he should have gone then," Mr Mallard said.

He told NZPA he had known Haden for a long time and considered him a friend.

"He's a bit like me, he's not diplomatic and he says what he thinks and sometimes, when you are representing New Zealand as an ambassador, you can't do that. You've got to bite your tongue," Mr Mallard said.

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