Lion Red brewery has bowed to criticism from nurses and cancelled plans to have women in nurses' uniforms entertaining the crowd at the rugby sevens tournament in Wellington this weekend.

The brewery took the decision after receiving phone calls from members of the nursing profession who said they were offended by the fancy dress outfits.

"We absolutely did not want to offend anyone and we totally respect the nursing profession and that is the reason why we have decided to cancel the nurses," Lion Red marketing manager Stephen Smith said in a statement.

"We apologise for any offence this has caused."

Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) nursing chief Anita Bamford told the brewery today the "publicity stunt" was a demeaning portrayal of nurses.

The uniforms featured the brewery's logo on a red cross on the bottom.

"It's particularly unfortunate that this publicity stunt is linked to a beer company," Ms Bamford said in a statement today.

Nurses were regularly in situations where alcohol had been a catalyst for health problems.

The "bimbo-isation" of nurses was a "tired old joke, which belongs more in the 1970s days of the Benny Hill Show than in the modern world of professional sports", she said.

"I just wish the company would leave nurses out of their cynical marketing philosophy."

CCDHB spokesman Michael Tull said nurses would welcome the brewery's decision.

- NZPA