Collins’ Bennett problem

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, August 16th, 2012 - 22 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, law - Tags: , ,

I look forward to Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little calling Paula Bennett as a witness in their defamation suit with Judith Collins. Bennett openly admits doing what Collins has sued Mallard and Little for accusing her of doing: using ministerial powers to leak the private details of a political opponent. Bennett even says she’ll do it again. She obviously doesn’t see doing it as hurting her reputation.

Defamation is publishing a statement that hurts someone’s reputation in the eyes of the public (and the statement isn’t true, honest opinion, or privileged). So, if Bennett’s case proves that it doesn’t hurt the reputation of a minister to be known to have abused her ministerial powers to leak the private details of a political opponent, it can’t be defamatory to accuse Collins of doing exactly the same thing.

It will be hilarious to see Bennett insisting that she was right to do what Collins says it is defamatory to be accused of, that she would do it again, that’s shes proud of her actions and the public support her.

(of course, Collins suit will fail on honest opinion and Lange v Atkinson privilege anyway)

22 comments on “Collins’ Bennett problem”

  1. Chris 1

    Couple of things – first Paula Bennett and Judith Collins are different people, just because something doesn’t hurt Paula Bennett’s reputation doesn’t automatically mean being accused of that thing isn’t hurtful to Judith Collins’ reputation.

    Secondly how does honest opinion apply in this situation?

  2. DJ 2

    Not too sure how you got from “She obviously doesn’t see doing it as hurting her reputation.”

    to “So, if Bennett’s case proves that it doesn’t hurt the reputation ..”

    Pretty loose conclusion to draw.

    • Hayden 2.1

      It could be inferred from Bennett’s and English’s statements yesterday that it’s Government policy to release private information about people who publicly criticise the Government, therefore it’s difficult to successfully argue that being accused of executing that policy is defamatory. Just a possibility…

      It’s interesting to note the difference in the wider public’s reactions to each of the leaks: a number of people thought they had the right to know about beneficiaries’ income, but I don’t remember anyone arguing the same about Bronwyn Pullar, also a beneficiary, albeit of a different kind.

      • Chris 2.1.1

        Yeah I found that a bit strange as well – the only explanation I can come up with is the general public is not on the benefit so don’t mind people’s benefit information being leaked. Whereas everyone is on ACC and don’t want their own details leaked.

  3. Dr Terry 3

    It will not “hurt”her reputation so much as “Confirm”her reputation (presuming that she has any “reputation” to speak of!)

    • Murray Olsen 3.1

      Exactly. How can she prove that her reputation of being heartless, ruthless and spiteful was damaged by anything that Mallard (puke) or Little could do? A politician suing for damaged reputation is a total oxymoron.

  4. Treetop 4

    One of these ministers is a bully, the other one cannot see that the core of the problem is the sick culture at ACC and that her personal diversion is a hindrance to cleaning up a toxic government department.

  5. Both Ministers are considered bullys.
    But, I would not like to get into a shit fight with either of them.

  6. Anne 6

    Bennett hasn’t done too well thus far at Question time. The speaker described her behaviour in the House as like that of a three year old, which caused her to laugh out loud as though he was saying it as a joke. Trouble was he responded by telling her it wasn’t a joke.

    • Carol 6.1

      Yes, Anne. Methinks the Minister was a little rattled – also jumping up to answer a question before the Speaker had given her the nod to answer it.

      • mike 6.1.1

        Where can I witness this feast for the senses?

        • Carol 6.1.1.1

          Don’t know about a video of it (question time will be repeated on the Parliament channel on freeview 6pm tonight, fr those that get it).

          But here’s a transcript:

          http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/a/6/b/50HansQ_20120816_00000004-4-Poverty-Reduction-Minister-s-Statements.htm

          Mr SPEAKER: Order! …
          —[Interruption] Order! I say to the Minister do not interject. I have had enough of this today and there will not—the Minister is showing no more discipline, or less discipline, than a 3-year-old child. It will cease. I am serious.

          Jacinda Ardern: Does she agree that today 20 percent of New Zealand children live in poverty?

          Mr SPEAKER: The Hon—[Interruption] Order! I have not even called the Minister. Can I encourage the Minister to settle down.

        • Anne 6.1.1.2

          Google NZ Parliament
          Click on to ‘Watch Parliament.’
          Click on to ‘high’ or ‘low’ resolution whichever is preferable.

          Question Time (2pm – approx.3:15pm each sitting day) is replayed between 6pm and 7:30pm for those who can’t watch or miss the afternoon session.

          oops: Carol has already answered. Still some idea what to do in future…

          • mike 6.1.1.2.1

            Much thanks Carol and Anne.

            Of course I’m guessing no one will ask her what I really wish they would:

            “Would the Minister for Demonizing Beneficiaries please explain how it is that she thinks she can get away with giving the Human Rights Commission her trademark hair flick?”

            Although I guess I already know the answer, she knows her boss won’t do a thing about it ‘cept smile and wave.

        • deuto 6.1.1.3

          The Parliament video archives on In the House are now really up to date and the videos of Question Time today are already available – here is a link. Click on it and then choose the question(s) you want to view eg Question 4 is the one where Bennett was told she was acting like a three year old at about 4.58 mins in but it is worth watching the whole video as it was ‘lively’. Her performance was slightly more restrained on question 11. Questions 2,5 and 7 are also worth watching.

          http://inthehouse.co.nz/video_archive

          • Carol 6.1.1.3.1

            I thought questions 10 & 11 were important, with Sue Moroney & Jan Logie highlighting NAct’s abysmal record on issues impacting strongly on a lot of women.

            • deuto 6.1.1.3.1.1

              I agree, Carol. Have a lot of time for Sue M and also increasingly Jan. In fact, there are more and more good (Opposition) women in the House, many of whom are first timers such as Genter. Have also seen NZF’s Asenati Lole-Taylor in action several times recently – no holding back there!

    • Carol 6.2

      And a Minister on the back foot is getting a bit of cut-through into the MSM:

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10827418

      Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said it was not a priority to measure New Zealand’s poverty line.

      Labour spokeswoman from children Jacinda Ardern said child poverty would not be resolved if the Government would not acknowledge the scale of the problem.

      “Given Ms Bennett’s frivolous treatment of what is a hugely serious issue, the public have every right to question her commitment to it.”

      “The message is clear. Either Paula Bennett doesn’t want to admit to the scale of the problem, or she is afraid of exposing her government’s lack of progress in fixing it.”

      Meanwhile, Brent Edwards on RNZ has just delivered a report on Bennett’s telling off by the Speaker today.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/113427/bennett%27s-behaviour-worse-than-3-year-old-speaker

      Parliament’s Speaker Lockwood Smith has given the social development minister a severe telling off as she tried to answer questions on poverty on Thursday afternoon.

      • mike 6.2.1

        “”There is no actual poverty line,” she said.”

        (Line? What line? I can’t see any line? Can you see a line?)

        “”Children move in and out of poverty on a daily basis,” said Ms Bennett”

        (If only these damn kids would make up their minds, then yeah sure, I’d do some stats on them.)

        Two very unflattering photos on that Herald article too. Good job.

  7. tracey 7

    Its a joke… All those people who derided the last pm for thinking she knew best seem hypocritically quiet right now.

  8. just saying 8

    I’ve searched the usual places including Scoop which publishes press releases from all the parties unaltered, and I can find no press release from Labour condemning Bennet’s illegal actions in relation to Fuller. I think it’s fair to assume that because a beneficary was injured (and all other beneficaries threatened with the same if they publicly criticise the government) the Labour Party has deemed that she is therefore officially sub-human, as are all beneficaries, and they will continue to refuse to oppose even illegal actions from the government harming such persons.

    I can’t even summon up contempt and anger right at the moment. I just feeling like crying at where we’ve come to, and what it means for our collective future.

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    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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