28 Aug 2018

PM dismisses idea of govt money for All Blacks

12:56 pm on 28 August 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laughed off suggestions the government should pay to stop top All Blacks from going overseas.

The Barrett brothers Jordie, Scott and Beauden will again lineup in the All Blacks starting fifteen.

The Barrett Brothers (Jordie, Scott and Beauden). Photo: Photosport

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew recently raised the issue.

They said they face the challenge of retaining players offered large salaries by Northern Hemisphere clubs.

The overseas deals are becoming more and more lucrative, with All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett, who starred in Saturday's win over the Wallabies, reportedly offered $3.4 million a year to join a French club after next year's World Cup.

Tew told reporters today that NZR spent more money each year than it made, with 36 percent of their expenditure going on player wages.

The financial assistance from the government may be needed if New Zealand wanted to keep its top talent at home and in the black jersey, he said.

"We [NZR] continue to spend on average between $5 [million] and $7 million a year more than we earn. Thirty-six percent of our costs that are fixed go to our professional players," Tew said.

"So if that 36 percent is under pressure because of the price of players in the international market, that continues to escalate with no real science behind it other than just these very wealthy club owners wanting to have the best team, then that's a pressure point," he said.

"We've already seen speculation in the media about what Beauden Barrett might be worth in France. So all Steve [Hansen] did is, and I had the same conversation with the prime minister and minister, was suggest that if our team [All Blacks] and our talent, then sitting down with the government at some time and talking about what we might do together, is useful."

But Ms Ardern told Morning Report the taxpayer already helps fund grassroots rugby.

"And of course when we have large fixtures, which I hope we will have with for instance the future Women's World Cup, those are things that the government has supported."

There'd been no formal approach for government funding from NZR, she said.

"It's up to every boss to advocate for their workers and I guess that's what the coach of the All Blacks is doing," she said.