28 Oct 2017

Women's rugby stars deserve to be paid - Labour

12:17 pm on 28 October 2017

The new Sports Minister will ask New Zealand Rugby to pay the World Cup winning women's rugby team.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern with the Black Ferns Labour leader Jacinda Ardern with the Black Ferns in Civic Square in Wellington.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with members of the Black Ferns team in Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

The Black Ferns won the World Cup in August for the fifth time, but unlike their male counterparts, they are not paid to play.

Grant Robertson told TV3's The Nation he believes the women players should be paid.

He said he wanted to meet rugby officials about the need for pay equity.

"I will be looking forward to a conversation with New Zealand Rugby about how they will achieve the government's goal of pay equity."

Mr Robertson said women's rugby was now highly competitive and it was right that the women should be paid better.

New Zealand Rugby has said there are too few professional competitions for women rugby players to sustain full-time pay.

No more 'hands-off' government

Speaking as the new Finance Minister, Mr Robertson also told The Nation the days of "laissez-faire" economics in

New Zealand were over, and the new government would be playing a more active role in the economy.

Mr Robertson said he agreed with the Prime Minister that capitalism had been a failure for many people.

He said the new Labour-led government wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to achieve their potential, and would work with business to achieve that.

"The days of a hands-off 'laissez-faire' government hoping for the best for New Zealand are over, but what we want to replace that with is an active government that partners in the regions with local governments, with business, with iwi. We actually want to listen to the regions in New Zealand as an example, and say 'what do you need to make sure you create those decent jobs?'."

However he denied that meant the new government would be meddling in the economy, saying it would be listening to businesses and iwi around the country.

Mr Robertson said he wanted to keep the budget in surplus, but it would not be at the expense of the poor.

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