Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has criticised comments UFC star Israel Adesanya made on social media.
The UFC middleweight champion made the comments in an Instagram video this week, but later deleted it.
It was made as a response to trash talking by another fighter, Kevin Holland.
"Bro, I will f….n rape you," Adesanya said.
Robertson, who is also the Sport Minister, said there was never a time to make flippant comments about rape, but it would be up to the UFC as to what they did about the controversy.
"There is never a time to make flippant comments about rape. It's just not something anybody should do," Robertson said.
"I am sure Israel understands that. I believe he has deleted [the post] in question.
"It will be up to the UFC as to what they do."
Robertson said he would make it clear to anyone that people needed to take rape seriously.
"It is not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all."
Yesterday, Rape Prevention Education executive director Debbi Tohill told RNZ there was no place for comments like Adesanya's.