All Blacks: Steve Hansen's locker-room funding bid wins guarded support

Steve Hansen's cheeky attempt to secure Government funding for his All Blacks has won guarded approval from Auckland University head of marketing Bodo Lang.

But Mr Lang isn't so sure that financial support should go towards player salaries to stop New Zealand's top players heading overseas for more lucrative club contracts in the Northern Hemisphere.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Sports Minister Grant Robertson were welcomed into the All Blacks dressing room after Saturday's resounding 40-12 Bledisloe Cup victory over Australia at Eden Park.

Coach Hansen took the opportunity to bend Mr Robertson's ear on the subject of funding.

"They should be our biggest sponsors, because we're their biggest brand," he said later. "There wasn't a lot said after that."

Mr Lang agrees the All Blacks play a considerable role in marketing New Zealand to foreign visitors.

"I think some people probably immediately associate the All Blacks," he told The AM Show. "The question is would people come here because of the All Blacks - I'm not so sure of that.

"The Lions tour [last year] was a huge success. I think NZ Rugby made $40m profit out of it, so that was definitely a big drawcard.

"The problem is it only happens every 10-12 years."

Mr Lang insists New Zealand is its own biggest brand, but conceded the All Blacks were a prominent sub-brand, worth about US$200m, and a drawcard for certain visitors to our country.

Every year, the All Blacks lose players to much bigger contracts in the Northern Hemisphere. but NZ Rugby has been able to cover those losses with player depth.

Over the past 12 months, first-fives Aaron Cruden and Lima Sopoaga, loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Liam Messam, prop Charlie Faumuina, wing Julian Savea and utility Charlie Ngatai have all departed.  

"[Hansen] saw the gap and exploited it," said Mr Lang. "I think he did what every coach would have done.

"One of the marketing principles is, if you want to really stick in people's minds, you have to position yourself in a unique sort of way and New Zealand definitely owns that rugby positioning.

"Allocating a disproprtionately large amount of money towards the All Balcks is probably not the wrong thing to do. The question is how do you allocate that money and what does it go towards?

"I'm not sure just subsidising players' salaries, which is essentially what he said... is the best use of taxpayers' money."