Sports and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson says he has spoken to New Zealand Cricket about its handling of a controversial cricketer.

The minister said it was important all governing sports bodies responded clearly when a player's conduct fell short of its values.

New Zealand Cricket is standing by its management of Scott Kuggeleijn. The cricketer was acquitted of rape after two trials in 2016 and 2017 but his attitude to consent and women during the trial has angered some Black Caps supporters and victim advocates, and they want NZC to make a public stand on the matter.

Kuggeleijn made his national debut last year but scrutiny has intensified this summer as he has appeared more frequently in the side.


Robertson, a keen Black Caps fan, told the Herald any decisions on who was selected for New Zealand cricket teams was entirely for NZ Cricket, and that was not something he would be involved in or comment on.

"I know that New Zealand Cricket has a strong set of values around making cricket a game for all New Zealanders and it has specific programmes in place to work with its players to educate them on respect, conduct and harassment," he said.

He added: "In my opinion, it is vital that all sports bodies are clear about their responses when conduct by their elite and contracted players goes against the values they seek to uphold.

"I have spoken to NZ Cricket about my personal views on this specific situation in that context."

New Zealand Cricket's public affairs manager, Richard Boock, said yesterday that the organisation believed it had handled the matter responsibly. Kuggeleijn was found not guilty two years ago and was not a New Zealand player at the time, he said.

Asked about concerns from victim advocates that the organisation was minimising sexual violence by not addressing it further, Boock reiterated that the organisation did not want to relitigate the rape trial.

"As NZC has previously stated, it considers some of the testimony, and observations made during the trials to be disturbing.

"However, it is impossible to sit in judgement of many of these claims and counter-claims without starting to relitigate elements of the trial in isolation, without context, and without knowing what the jury has or has not accepted. This remains our position."

Kuggeleijn, 27, has kept a low profile since returning to the national side.


NZC does not plan to force him into the spotlight. It was up to him if or when he wanted to be made available for media interviews, Boock said.

Scott Kuggeleijn. Photo / Photosport
Scott Kuggeleijn. Photo / Photosport

Partly in response to Kuggeleijn's selection, NZC introduced sexual consent and sexual harassment training to its induction course for players.

During the trials it emerged that the 21-year-old complainant said "no" to sex on two occasions before Kuggeleigjn had sex with her the next morning - which his lawyer argued was consensual.

Victoria University researchers Anj Barton and Lynzi Armstrong, who specialised in sexual and domestic violence, said that Kuggeleijn and his lawyers' tactics during the trial showed why so few women reported sexual assault.

"What excerpts from this trial reveal is the centrality of victim-blaming, where the woman's appearance, character, and sexual agency are factors used to undermine her credibility as a victim," they wrote in a blog post.

They added: "Reading these accounts, it is easy to see why most victims do not report their experiences at all."