Grant Robertson slams NZME for 'baseless, appalling' Crusaders name change article

Grant Robertson has blasted the New Zealand Herald for a now-deleted article claiming he and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pushed for the Crusaders name change.

On Tuesday afternoon, he called the article "an appalling piece of writing".

"It is absolutely baseless; they haven't had a single conversation with the Crusaders, neither has the Prime Minister," he said.

The article claimed a source close to the Crusaders told NZME that Ardern and Robertson have been driving a push to change the team's name in the wake of the Christchurch shootings.

He demanded the organisation take responsibility.

"Newstalk ZB needs to take responsibility for the fact the journalist wrote a story without contacting either the Crusaders, or the Prime Minister's office, or my office."

"They've just gone on some sort of rumour."

Earlier on Tuesday, Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show the article was "inaccurate".

"It's odd. I have not expressed an opinion publicly or even privately actually," she said.

"Apparently I've been applying pressure. I didn't even know about it. It is inaccurate."

When asked about Ardern's denial of involvement on Tuesday afternoon, Robertson had a simple question.

"So why was the story in the Herald then?"

Robertson told journalists on Tuesday the story raises difficulties.

"It's actually quite difficult when you're asked to respond to a story, because then they say we've denied something that was without any basis, in fact, whatsoever."



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