Interesting to contrast two stories on the parliamentary rugby team travelling to England to defend the parliamentary world cup title they hold.
The Herald story:
MPs will be jetting to the United Kingdom to take part in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup after being granted special leave.
The team will take part in a tournament from September 10 to 23 – dates which overlap with the start of the real tournament.
Politicians going include Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga – who is currently under pressure over the issue of alleged violence in prisons – and New Zealand First MP Winston Peters, who turned 70 this year.
New Zealand are four times champions in the tournament, which happens prior to each Rugby World Cup.
It is understood the upcoming trip is funded through sponsorship. Players will also be dipping into their own pockets – when asked how the trip was funded, Mr O’Connor said: “my bank account”.
Pretty factual and not sensational. And I’m all in favour of MPs keeping fit by playing sport, and even better beating the Aussies and English. I don’t see this as any different to any other employer giving people time off for an international sporting fixture.
And the Stuff story:
Nine MPs – including two ministers – are taking leave from Parliament to travel to England for the Rugby World Cup.
Corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, his Cabinet colleague Commerce minister Paul Goldsmith and NZ First leader Winston Peters are among those who will skip parliamentary sessions in lieu of the September junket.
So the first two paragraphs make it look like they are merely going to England to watch rugby rather than play rugby – a huge difference.
They’ll play in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup which runs alongside the tournament.
Also on the team are Labour’s Damian O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis, and National’s Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell.
Parliament’s business committee gave leave for the absence from September 10 – 23, which means the MPs will be in England for the opening, but will miss the October 31st final.
Later on it mentions they are actually playing rugby. Also as one can see they are there for very little of the actual Rugby World Cup. The first game is on 18 September so they are there for only eight out of 40 pool games and none of the eight knock out games.
Now you can have views on whether the MPs should get time off to defend the world title – that’s fine. But making it look like they are primarily going to watch the RWC is unfair, when in fact they are there for just a small fraction of the RWC.