The ministerial denials have been made, but an Australian newspaper is standing by claims that New Zealand’s swearing, abusive, rugby-watching minister exists.
The Sydney Morning Herald says a New Zealand MP called the Wallabies “f***ing cheats” while hosting Australian rugby officials at a match with Italy at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium on Sunday.
Sports writer Greg Growden says a reliable source told him the unnamed politician, nicknamed the New Zealand Minister for Bad Manners, “booed and abused the Wallabies all game”.
The three ministers who were in the box that time have denied any such behaviour, accusing the newspaper of making up the story.
But Growden, in his column Ruck & Maul, wrote on Wednesday: “All I can say is that my sources are impeccable.”
He says that the column had now claimed the title of “New Zealand’s public enemy No.1” from Wallabies five-eighth Quade Cooper over its accusations, which had “sent local media into a real tizz”.
“R&M … thought we were suddenly in a scene from Frontline when chased down an Auckland street by a camera crew, demanding answers,” he wrote.
“R&M also takes as a badge of honour that New Zealand Prime Minister John Key described R&M as a `gossip column’. That’s certainly more positive compared to some fruity comments made about R&M over the decades.”
The New Zealand ministers in the box, Wayne Mapp, Jonathan Coleman and Maurice Williamson, have all vehemently denied anyone made offensive remarks.
“I frankly think this is essentially a made-up story,” Dr Mapp said on Tuesday.