Clearly Peter Cullen has never heard of market forces

Peter Cullen is a lawyer, and he has written an opinion piece where he worries about equity issues in rugby.

In recent weeks, news stories have highlighted issues with diversity and discrimination in sport.

Rugby dominates the New Zealand sporting scene and is often the trigger for such discussions. The Chiefs’ incident with a stripper, the escapades of Aaron Smith in an airport toilet, and Jerome Kaino cheating on his wife have all made headlines.

To their credit New Zealand Rugby established a Respect and Responsibility Review panel to look at how New Zealand Rugby can replicate the excellent work it does on the field in the behaviour of players and the wider rugby community off the field.

The report was released in September.

The panel made a number of recommendations, including that New Zealand Rugby should become more supportive of diversity, commit to gender equity, and improve attitudes toward women and gay persons within the sport.

In the last few days, New Zealand Rugby chief executive, Steve Tew, commented on the lack of openly gay men playing rugby.

Of the 1160 players who have been All Blacks not one has come out publicly as gay. Tew believes among that number there have been gay players who have kept their sexual identities secret.

Tew has conceded that rugby, among other sports, has an issue with homophobia. He now wants to create an environment where players and workers are free to express their sexuality and diversity without fear of discrimination.

Leading international rugby referee Nigel Owens broke new ground by coming out as gay in 2007. Maybe he is leading the way.

Why is anyone concerned that no All Black or other rugby has come out as gay?

Who cares? Not the players that is for sure, and they will know who their gay team mates are. This just isn’t a big deal anymore.

Readers will have also read in September of the Black Ferns’ stunning win of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

However, the majority of the players are considered ‘amateur’ and are not on professional contracts.

Because the women are not paid to play, as the All Blacks are, they have since had to return to their day jobs. Most Black Ferns work full-time standard jobs to support themselves, despite being elite athletes. Some are teachers, firefighters, police officers, and mothers.

In contrast, at the end of 2016, New Zealand Rugby and the Players’ Association announced a new collective agreement would increase the All Blacks’ payment pool from $121 million to $191m over the next three years.

At present, Kieran Read’s salary is over $1m before endorsements and sponsorship packages are added.

The Respect and Responsibility Review panel has said that investing in women’s rugby is a great opportunity.

Women’s rugby is now an international success, particularly with men’s and women’s 7s rugby being added to the Olympics.

New Zealand Rugby needs to consider the cost of not including female talent if the sport wants to remain competitive. More girls and women participating in rugby will have a positive impact on the game’s future sustainability. The panel recommended that a sustainable commercial model be developed for women’s rugby.

If someone does invest in women’s rugby then I am sure professional salaries will be available. Until then there is no money in it. Market forces, something lawyers practice to the extreme themselves, will continue to play a part.

Kieran Reid gets paid a million bucks because he earns more than that for the Rugby Union.

From what we can see from the outside, the women’s rugby players who are employed by New Zealand Rugby are very likely to have a pay equity claim.

However, those not on professional contracts are most likely volunteers and would not be able to bring a claim. In any event, a comparison between the Black Ferns’ and All Blacks’ performance and remuneration would not bode well for New Zealand Rugby.

Oh, so, he is touting for some business and it is masquerading as an opinion piece.

Why does the captain of the All Blacks get paid over $1m a year while captain of the Black Ferns gets paid nothing?

Ever heard of market forces Peter?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

Put the Black Ferns in beach volleyball outfits and see how it goes then. I’m the sure the sponsors will flock in. Or not.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.