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Collins folds

Written By: - Date published: 5:41 pm, November 14th, 2012 - 18 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, law, spin - Tags: , ,

And so Collins’ “defamation” case against Mallard and Little ends, not with a bang, but a whimper:

ACC Minister Judith Collins’ defamation action against Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little has been settled following a hearing in the High Court at Auckland today. …

In a statement today following their meeting, the three parliamentarians said they agreed “the leak of the email Ms Boag sent to the minister and forwarded on her instructions as the responsible minister to the chairman and chief executive of ACC raised an issue of serious public concern, and that Messrs Mallard and Little were entitled to question who was responsible for that leak”.

More than “entitled – that’s their job.

“The parties continue to differ over whether the comments made by Messrs Mallard and Little respectively on Radio NZ implied the minister falsely assured the House that neither she nor her office was responsible for the leak.

I bet they do.

“Messrs Mallard and Little have confirmed to Ms Collins that was not their intention and wish to make that clear publicly that in the event such meaning was taken they regret it.”

Ahh – the old “apologise for giving offense” non-apology trick. I nearly titled this post “Collins folds, Farrar spindles and mutilates” (ancient idiom), because DPF is of course trying to spin this as a win for Collins. Good luck with that!

In the statement, the three politicians said they would make no further comment.

An appropriate end to an ill-advised lawsuit.

Update: – Collins’ goals going in to this: “Justice Minister Judith Collins is not seeking damages, but wants the court to declare she was defamed and to award her costs in her case against two Labour MPs.” Not achieved.

18 comments on “Collins folds”

  1. George D 1

    I guess she realised there was only downside risk and very little potential gain – distracting Mallard and Little would have been the extent of it, but at the cost of time and distraction spent by the minister.

  2. One Tāne Huna 2

    “An appropriate end…”

    lol – Collins must know that the Clayton’s apology is an expression of contempt. If she doesn’t I hope her political rivals take pleasure in rubbing it in 😈

  3. freedom 3

    final cost to NZ ? $50K ? $100K ? more ? for what ?

    dazed he shrugs and wanders off to be amongst the bewidlered

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Funny, I saw the line “Collins folds” in the comments sidebar, before knowing the author, and immediately knew it was Anthony.

    Any chance of a link to the previous posts, where Mallard was looking forward to embarrassing National in court?

    The folding was at best mutual, and “regret” will be the headline word. Little and Mallard have helped their lawyers, but not achieved anything for Labour voters – which is actually what they’re paid to do.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      the headline word on stuff and granny is “settled”.

      3news had footage of Collins on the way into court saying she wanted an apology, and a statement that she was defamed, and went on to show that she had to settle for a statement of regret that the comments may have been misinterpreted.

      no apology, no statement of defamation.

    • r0b 4.2

      Funny, I saw the line “Collins folds” in the comments sidebar

      I just liked the symmetry with the Kiwiblog post – “Mallard and Little fold”. For my own inclination I’d have titled it “Not with a bang, but a whimper”.

      Any chance of a link to the previous posts, where Mallard was looking forward to embarrassing National in court?

      You can chase ’em up and post them as quick as I!

      • gobsmacked 4.2.1


        Trevor on Twitter:

        “Set aside last week in February for watching @johnkeypm explaining to court why he had to ask Collins twice whether she or her office leaked”

        Trevor on Facebook:

        “I’m looking forward to watching Key explain why he had to ask Collins twice about leak. If he didn’t believe her why should I.”

        etc, etc.

        Lesson – don’t talk up what you can’t deliver. That goes for Collins of course, but Mallard too (Little seems more circumspect).

        • r0b

          Fair enough, but also strikes me as a good tactic by Mallard, and likely a factor in Collins getting cold feet.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    This is pretty funny, from dpf’s thread:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,340) Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 5:51 pm
    She would had an impossible task to show she suffered damage other than hurt feelings which wouldn’t be high value for a politician subject to daily insults from opponents.

    So she would have won the case with a 1 cent award for damages which would not be a great political point-scorer. Hence the double-talk settlement.

    [DPF: Alan, Collins was not seeking damages. She was merely seeking a declaration that she was defamed, and of course then costs.]

    She got neither.

  6. OneTrack 6

    In other words, Mallard and Little whimp out and go screaming home to mummy.

    • karol 6.1

      Or, you can follow the progression, from apology sought, to no apology achieved on this TV3 page.

      • Crashcart 6.1.1

        I don’t get why Mallard and Little conceeded anything. In the public perception it looks like all parties were partially wrong. The two of them should have stuck to their guns and made her either fully back down or go to court. I’m sorry but they let her off lightly so it is essentially a win for her.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.2

      And Romney’s going to win!

    • Ross 6.3

      Except it was Collins doing the whining and complaining that her reputation – whatever that might look like – had been damaged. She was going to fight to the bitter end to get her reputation restored! Yeah right. Her reputation remains in tatters.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Ew, look who I’ve been agreeing with:


  8. I am hardly surprised, it seemed like a silly case to begin with.

  9. Jackal 9

    Judith Collins defamation fail

    In order to withdraw from proceedings for defamation the plaintiff would usually need to formally write to the high court and request that the statement of claim be terminated. Here’s what that letter might have looked like…

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