11 Jul 2010

Haden had to resign from rugby role - Key

10:43 pm on 11 July 2010

Prime Minister John Key says Andy Haden was right to resign as a Rugby World Cup ambassador, following his second controversial outburst.

Mr Key says if Haden had not chosen to resign, the Government would have had to choose for him.

Mr Haden stepped down from the unpaid role on Saturday, after comments he made on a television show last week suggesting some women target sportsmen and then claim they were raped.

Earlier he had claimed the Crusaders team had a race-based selection policy, and referred to Pacific Island players as darkies.

Mr Key says Paul Holmes had made the same mistake as Haden and managed to keep his job, but now that the former All Black had made a second error, it was appropriate for him to step down.

He says everyone is entitled to make one mistake, but in the end Haden had to choose between his job as a rugby ambassador and his role as a media commentator.

The Prime Minister says he has not seen the offending comments in full, but no-one should suggest that rape is not shocking, and women must be fully protected.

Haden stands by his remarks, saying he should be able to express what he believes without a 'media beat-up'.

A spokesperson for the National Collective of Rape Crisis, Andrea Black, says many people were offended by Haden's comments and it's unfair that he is now complaining about the media coverage.

Ms Black says she hopes Haden will apologise.

Govt wrong to appoint Haden - Mallard

Labour MP Trevor Mallard supported Andy Haden's resignation, but says he should never have been given the position in the first place.

Mr Mallard says the Government's management of the issue has been embarrassing.

He says Haden has a lot to offer to New Zealand rugby, but not in an ambassadorial role.

Mr Mallard says Haden has a reputation for making controversial statements and should never have been appointed.