Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Judith Collins and Paula Bennett to Chiefs: 'grow up' and apologise

Police and Corrections Minister Judith Collins. PHOTO/ Mark Mitchell
Police and Corrections Minister Judith Collins. PHOTO/ Mark Mitchell

Women's Affairs' minister Louise Upston has been criticised for refusing to talk about the Chiefs' treatment of a stripper but her fellow ministers Judith Collins and Paula Bennett have let rip, saying the Chiefs should "grow up" and apologise for their behaviour.

An inquiry by New Zealand Rugby cleared the Chiefs' players of misconduct at the 'Mad Monday' event with a stripper and no punishment was handed out beyond a reprimand for an inappropriate event.

Green MP Jan Logie has called for Upston to step down as Women's Affairs Minister after she refused to comment about the investigation or the Chiefs' behaviour.

Paula Bennett, has criticised the Chiefs' behaviour. Photo / Duncan Brown
Paula Bennett, has criticised the Chiefs' behaviour. Photo / Duncan Brown

Upston's fellow minister Bennett and Collins refused to criticise Upston or comment on her handling of it.

However, they did not hold back themselves.

Collins said she was a "fervent Chiefs supporter" having grown up in the Waikato.

"I'm pretty disappointed in them and I think it's time they stopped that stupid behaviour, grew up and got on to the rugby."

Asked if she thought they should apologise, she said "they should say sorry to their spouses actually, as well".

Bennett said she was not going to comment on Upston but did believe the Chiefs should apologise.

"Most certainly. I think the Chiefs should perhaps accept elements of their own behaviour, own that and look at moving on."

She was also critical of the inquiry NZ Rugby commissioned which had not spoken to a second stripper who made claims about the Chiefs.

NZR CEO Steve Tew, left, and Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman at a press conference on the release of the report into players behaviour at the end of season function. Photo / Ross Setford
NZR CEO Steve Tew, left, and Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman at a press conference on the release of the report into players behaviour at the end of season function. Photo / Ross Setford

"It just doesn't feel right the way they've done the inquiry. That was what I got out of it. For me it should be respect, there should be an element of all that and I didn't like the way they ran the inquiry. I think they've admitted that themselves."

Upston defended her handling of the issue, saying refusing to comment on specific cases and instead making broader comment about the treatment of women was consistent with her approach in the past.

"I will absolutely stand by my comment that men across this country, high profile or not, it is vital that men treat women with respect and treat them equally."

Prime Minister John Key has defended Upston, saying he believed the comments she had made were appropriate and that had also commented on the case - including criticising the Chiefs over the event.

- NZ Herald

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