What Has Been Mr Mallard's Role?
As part of the inquiry into the loss of the Rugby World Cup, we need to find out what the Sports Minister’s role has been, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.
“I wrote to Trevor Mallard on March 8, when it was apparent that New Zealand’s World Cup bid was in trouble, asking what he had been doing to assist as Minister of Sport.
“I never got a reply. But I note that my letter galvanised Mr Mallard into action – he flew to Sydney, got a Crown Law opinion and put out a flurry of press statements.
“One is left with the impression that the Minister of Sport had ignored the World Cup until he got my letter. This is extraordinary, given the amount of time, effort and money this government put into the America’s Cup yachting which, from a New Zealand sporting viewpoint, is less important than the Rugby World Cup.
“I didn’t ask Mr Mallard to put government money into the World Cup. I just asked him to justify his position and salary as Minister of Sport.
“It appears the New Zealand Rugby Union may have lost the World Cup through failures in high-level diplomacy. If this is so, the government’s earlier intervention might have helped.
“One is also left with the feeling that if it wasn’t for Labour’s prejudice against rugby – which goes back to the Springbok tour – this government would have been supporting the World Cup as they did the America’s Cup yachting.
“I have asked Mr Mallard some Parliamentary questions on this matter and it will be interesting to see his answers,” Mr Prebble said.