Little’s court win good for democracy

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, April 12th, 2017 - 109 comments
Categories: accountability, Andrew Little, democratic participation - Tags: ,

The defamation case against Andrew Little has been an unwelcome distraction while he should have been free to do his job as leader of the largest opposition party. While the outcome wasn’t conclusive, the consensus is that the process delivered a qualified win for Little, and a clear win for democracy. Claire Trevett in The Herald:

Andrew Little defamation trial a win for future Opposition leaders – and the lawyers

As is often the case in such matters, the only winners in monetary terms were the lawyers.

Little joked that had a substantial award been handed down he would have ended “busking at the bottom of Lambton Quay.” He may well end up there anyway – he was yet to get his own bill from lawyer John Tizard. But he may have saved others from busking on Lambton Quay.

The other winners in the case were future Leaders of the Opposition. Little’s present to them was Justice Karen Clark’s ruling that as Leader of the Opposition he met the criteria for the defence of qualified privilege.

The ruling acknowledges Little had a moral or legal duty to make the statements he had, in the course of holding the Government to account. It offers some protection in defamation suits, unless the person claiming it was motivated by ill-will or otherwise abused the privilege.

The jury was unable to decide if he had ceded his right to it, but it proved Little’s saving grace in the end.

If that holds up untrammelled through any appeals, Little’s successors will thank him.

Tim Murphy at Newsroom:

Little defamation case: Juries are not that daft

Let’s hope the unusual hoteliers the Hagamans don’t continue their legal pursuit of Labour Party leader Andrew Little.

Their first round ended in failure in the High Court at Wellington.

Importantly, the result is a win for robust political speech. Little did question the Hagamans’ donation to National and the later hotel deal. But his target in questioning that was less the Hagamans and more the National Party.

He is Leader of the Opposition. He smelled a rat and said so. It turned out the rat was in Little’s imagination – the Auditor General found no link between the Hagaman deal and the donation.

Last week’s High Court hearing had been seen as a gift for National. Not only had the case and the days in court distracted and discombobulated Little, but an award against him for six figures would have carried an implication of some heinous wrong.

In private, and on social media, National’s acolytes tried to stoke the implausible possibility that a heavy loss for Little would prompt the Labour Party to ditch his damaged brand and elevate Jacinda Ardern to the top job. The glee in anticipation was wrong-headed.

It is important for politicians to be able to speak out strongly against those in power. They need to get it right, of course, and when they err they need to put that right. But a culture of suing politicians for unseemly sums of money in a general election year is something New Zealand would do well to discourage. …

Updated with – an anonymous editorial on Stuff:

Democracy was the winner on the day

…Little’s narrow victory was also a win for democracy. It enshrines the vital role of the leader of the opposition as someone unafraid to examine and criticise the workings of government. It could even boost Little’s credentials as a campaigner against cronyism.

But the Hagamans also have to understand that it is essential to the proper functioning of a democracy that the process of political donations and the possibility of influence is scrutinised by politicians and the media.

This has been an important case for NZ. Thank goodness we got it right.

109 comments on “Little’s court win good for democracy”

  1. adam 1

    Still feels more like Tory dirty politics, than a win for democracy. It should never have even been in court, and shows how much the Tory scum in this country disdain middle class virtues.

    • Gosman 1.1

      Except Little himself has admitted he over stepped the mark in his comments (hence his apology and offer of compensation).

      The question is if he was making the case for robust oversight of the government why didn’t he just restrict himself to Parliament where he could of got away with what he did without fear of a case being taken against him.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        In fact he apologised, not for his comments, but for the “hurt”.

        He offered to pay costs. Now the case has been found against Lani Hagaman it is more likely she will end up paying his.

        • Gosman 1.1.1.1

          That has to be decided however why did he apologies for the hurt if he still thinks that they may have been involved in something dodgy? I think it is clear that he is apologising for the hurt caused by accusing them of something he had no real evidence for and that doesn’t look like it was dodgy as he claimed at the time.

          • red-blooded 1.1.1.1.1

            I guess the apology came because of the auditor general’s report. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that he was wrong to question the process – it did look very dodgy and it was worth looking into. He did the right thing to speak up.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.2

            That isn’t what the Auditor General said. She said someone in Parliament was very interested and she couldn’t probe anything offshore.

            • Gosman 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Why did he apologise then?

              • There was also the fact that the prosecution against Little had built up an emotional atmosphere with the impending demise of Mr Hagaman ,- something you forget. This may have occurred after the events you are speaking of, – but it certainly did occur and was done for effect.

                National party MP’s have done far worse, – or should I have to remind you of Paula Bennett’s misuse of private details gleaned from govt sources to humiliate and denigrate two female private citizens . And , – unlike the Hagamans – were easily bullied beneficiaries who lacked the huge financial capacity to even consider taking Bennett to court for abuse of power.

                Slightly different story but the same basic principle. And Bennett wasn’t even considering doing it out of ‘qualified privilege’ , – she was just acting out of spite and carrying on like the oafish bully she was and is.

                • Gosman

                  Depends on your perspective. I for one did not defend Bennett’s actions though.

                  • Didn’t hear or see you protest as vigorously as you are now about Little , either.

                    Selective bias, much?

                    I think so.

                    • Gosman

                      Did you bemoan Little here or did you support his actions?

                    • Primary difference here is that Little was doing what is expected of an Opposition leader and calling the incumbent govt to account which is the sign of a healthy opposition and why we have such things as ‘qualified privileged’.

                      Whereas the example I gave you is one of straight out , clear ministerial abuse of her position. And had the two individuals concerned have had the financial wherewithal to challenge her it just may have been an entirely different outcome.

                      Yet another example of how this govt turns a blind eye to the use of bully tactics then uses wealth and position to intimidate those without it.

              • left_forward

                Because he was on a hiding to nowhere – he was trying to minimise the damage; time and cost. His apology had nothing to do whether he actually defamed or not.

              • McFlock

                for the hurt, dude.

                If the court case was genuiinely about hurt feelings rather than cash or headlines, apologising for the hurt should have sorted it before going to trial.

          • reason 1.1.1.1.3

            Its all as dodgy as John keys Lawyer ………. the one who wasn’t a Lawyer.

            “The PM asked me to contact you to arrange a meeting at your convenience with a small group of industry leaders who are keen to engage to explain how the regime works and the benefits of an industry which has been painstakingly built up over the last 25 years or so,” ……

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8515361/Money-trail-leads-home-to-New-Zealand

            Table 1. Countries Listed on Various Tax Haven Lists.

            Pacific, South Pacific: Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Nauru, Niue, Tonga, Vanuatu

            Does our foreign aid now include building tax haven infrastructure Gosman ??

            The whole thing stinks ……..

        • michelle 1.1.1.2

          good job she a gravy digger Mrs hagman isn’t she happy with her lot her old old man is leaving her or does she have to fight with the rest of his wives and kids. Greed and power hungry gnats have been rewarding there mates and there mates mates sorry there time is now up in 3 terms these w kers have done too much damage to our country and our people

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        Except Little himself has admitted he over stepped the mark in his comments (hence his apology and offer of compensation).

        Which he actually didn’t, as the result of the court case shows, and he shouldn’t have apologised or offered money. The latter was actually rather stupid of him as it now allows you RWNJs to attack him over nothing.

        The question is if he was making the case for robust oversight of the government why didn’t he just restrict himself to Parliament

        Why should holding the government to account only hold in one place?

        • Gosman 1.1.2.1

          Because you open yourself up to this exact sort of action. There is a reason for parliamentary privilege.

          • WILD KATIPO 1.1.2.1.1

            A little bit like John Key did when he alluded to wearing his ‘ party leader’ hat instead of his ‘PM’ hat , … or in fact any other hat he chose to define himself with at any one given time to avoid taking responsibility…

            The same could of been said bout his ‘ office’…

            Weasel words and you know it , mate.

      • adam 1.1.3

        Good to see more BS from you Gossy, nothing like a troll like yourself getting huffy over this.

        I see you in full spin mode. And as always, defending dirty politics.

        • dukeofurl 1.1.3.1

          hes the personification of dirty politics.
          Running lines that the beehive feeds to its chooks without disclosing their source.
          Talkback radio would be full of people spouting the same pre- written lines.

          ‘Littles judgement is the real issue’ they read in unison from their emails/txts from party central ( or wherever it is that Jason Ede works now)

          Never mind that the jury was trying to find a way of agreeing with his judgement.

          And clearly he tried to apologise and pay damages to settle( as they were collateral ) but you can see how LH broke the agreement in court about not raising the settlement issue, that ‘the woman wasnt for settling with an apology’

          It was previously reported that Brownlees ear was bashed over not moving the Cook Str ferry terminal out of Picton to protect their retail precinct there.

          • WILD KATIPO 1.1.3.1.1

            And then we could mention a former PM of the Natz who assaulted a person over a six month time period by pulling her ponytail , yet Gosman seems particularly silent about that double standard… and many other incidents … now perhaps if she had had a spare few million to throw around in a court hearing …

            One was an assumed defamation – which was ruled against. The other actually happened and gets nowhere in this country.

  2. saveNZ 2

    It’s only good for Democracy, if Andrew Little has his legal costs paid for by the Litigants.

    Otherwise the message is, if you are rich you can bring someone down financially at your whim and even if they are found not guilty and even offered to settle so it did not go to trial, the victim is still stuck with huge financial losses from legal fees.

    If the Hagmans are so ‘charitable’ and have so much money to ‘give selectively away’ then they should right their wrong, and pay up Little’s legal bills.

    The Hagman’s don’t want to influence the elections after all. sarc.

    • Gosman 2.1

      Little has basically acknowledged his comments overstepped the mark in relation to the Hagaman’s (although seemingly fallen short of outright defamation). Why shouldn’t they take him to court on that basis? It isn’t as if he had no case to answer.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        No. Only one Hagaman. Little didn’t defame the other one at all. She should pay his costs for wasting everyone’s time. If the other Hagaman wants another trial Little then has something to pay costs with.

        He won, you lost, eat that.

        • Gosman 2.1.1.1

          Ummm… I wasn’t involved in anyway with the trial.

          If you think being dragged through the court and writing apologies and offering up 10’s of thousands of dollars is winning then good luck to you.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1

            “You” refers to vindictive toryboys like you, who were so sure Little would lose and drooling at the prospect and are now whinging and spinning and generally being sore losers.

            It’s understandable, but you might just as well say “wah wah wah!” Because that’s what it looks like 😆

          • dukeofurl 2.1.1.1.2

            Why didnt Gosman have all that angst over John Keys defamation ‘loss’

      • DoublePlusGood 2.1.2

        Really Little should have had the confidence to not apologise and be firm that his course of action was appropriate.

        • Gosman 2.1.2.1

          Indeed, if he was sure in what he stated at the time. I think he now realises that this wasn’t the best of moves though.

      • saveNZ 2.1.3

        Not only that, apparently the cunning Ms Hagman tricked all the lawyers and then after agreeing that the jury would know nothing about the settlement offer, then bought it up in court so that Little was put on the spot to agree after agreeing not to do that.

        That alone probably prejudiced the Jury who probably don’t understand why someone innocent has to try to settle to minimise any costs later on.

        Ms Hagman was clearly after the money and to win. She was the one found never to have be defamed as well. Who knows what dying Hagman wants but his wife wanted the money and to defeat Little and not above dirty tactics to get it.

        Poorer people are often forced to settle to rich litigants not because they are wrong, but the can’t the risk they might be busking on Cuba ST if they don’t beat the massive financial lawyer power of rich litigants!

        We do not have a fair legal system for rich and poor at all and middle class like Andrew Little are no financial match for billionaires! And those who think we do, are dreaming.

        That’s why we need a new Labour / Green government.

    • Et Tu Brute 2.2

      I don’t know. Maybe in this case, yes. But what is also good for democracy is if citizens can complain about unfair treatment from an MP, and not expect to be hit hard if they lose. Before this qualified privilege was widely accepted to apply in a limited number of circumstances, and not in the way ruled in this case. This time it is Andrew Little, next time it might be a National Party leader in opposition saying something dumb about someone and the unions backing them up. Got to think big picture.

      • red-blooded 2.2.1

        Except that Little’s comments related to a government procurement process, not just to a couple of private individuals going about their own business.

  3. Carolyn_nth 3

    When did Justice Karen Clark rule that Little’s defence of qualified privilege was upheld?

    I haven’t seen any other reports of it.

    Trevett’s article is interesting. She aims to be objective, but, as the article goes on, shows more empathy for Lani Hagaman than Little.

    Some interesting bits about Earl Hagaman’s politics in the article, including this:

    It was about politics when Lani Hagaman set out husband Earl’s previous donations to parties including Labour, NZ First, Act and National. Probed further, she said the Labour donations had been during the Rogernomics years and Mr Hagaman’s attention had moved to Act once Sir Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble left Parliament.

    It was about politics when, in a written statement, Earl Hagaman spoke of how he had discussed Kim Dotcom with National Party president Peter Goodfellow when handing over a donation the day after the ‘Moment of Truth’ night of the 2014 campaign, and “how destructive it would be if he ever got into a position of power.”

    It was about politics when Little’s team presented a letter Earl Hagaman had written to Prime Minister John Key in 2009, saying he was doing a “great job and unwinding some of the horrendous miscarriages Helen [Clark] set up to defraud the taxpayers.”

    To me there has been an issue about the angry pursuit of Little by the Hagamans, while ignoring similar statements by journalists, about the twin facts of the Hagaman’s Nat party donation and the contract they were awarded by the NZ state authorities – in my opinion, it always seemed politically-motivated, though the evidence is circumstantial, and in my perception of Lani Hagaman’s tone during media interviews.

    • Andre 3.1

      “When did Justice Karen Clark rule that Little’s defence of qualified privilege was upheld?”

      Looks like it was in her instructions to the jury before they retired to consider their verdict?

      “Justice Clark told the jurors this morning they had to decide whether, on the balance of probabilities, the words Mr Little used in media statements had the defamatory meanings the Hagamans claimed they did.

      She ruled the statements he made held qualified privilege, but told the jury that defence would not be available if they found Mr Little was motivated by ill will against the Hagamans or took improper advantage of qualified privilege.”

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/328356/andrew-little-defamation-trial-jury-told-to-'be-fair

    • dukeofurl 3.2

      The hotel operation contract wasnt awarded by NZ state authorities, it was done by Niue Matavai Ltd. This is why the AG couldnt really look into anything but issued a whitewash report. It was a niuean entity.

      However, much more importantly, a new conference centre building at Niue Matavai resort was announced by NZ Ministry Foreign Affairs. This will benefit the new resort operator. I wonder if Scenic knew the new building was coming and pitched their bid accordingly ?

      NZ taxpayers subsidise the Air NZ flights to the island, we subsidise the operation of the hotel, we pay for the new conference centre to increase the occupancy rate.

      All the while ‘a person in parliament’ [code for national MP] was being kept in touch by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

      ‘8 October 2014 – A Ministry staff member emailed a person in Parliament, noting that “Tomorrow the Matavai Board is to consider the appointment of a hotel management company to run the Matavai. Scenic Circle are the proposed managers….
      http://www.oag.govt.nz/media/2016/niue-hotel

      Obvious signs of lawyers work keeping ‘a persons’ name out of it.

  4. red-blooded 4

    It would have been bizarre if the finding had gone against the qualified privilege argument. Little was doing his job – he was quite right to speak up and question this process. Plus, let’s remember if he’d said all this in parliament there would have been no route to legal comeback and the perceived damage to reputation would have been just the same.

    • Gosman 4.1

      I don’t understand why he didn’t restrict himself to Parliament. His judgement seemed to be lacking somewhat at the time.

      • red-blooded 4.1.1

        So, you’d have been OK with him saying things that you say ‘overstepped the mark” if he’d just said them in a different place? Would that have made the supposed impact on the Hagamans any different?

        And yes, I know that parliamentary privilege would have applied, but actually it applies to a situation like this anyway, if the focus is on the government’s actions and decision-making processes (which it clearly was).

      • Ad 4.1.2

        Agree.

        Little was pulled into a futile hit that cost him and party time and money and media coverage with election coming.

        Hope he gets the lesson to make opposition hits cleaner, and they shouldn’t come from the leader.

        • adam 4.1.2.1

          Disagree, if you can’t handle the public criticism – get out of the game. The Hagamans could have saved themselves from this, if they just didn’t go begging for government money.

        • Keith 4.1.2.2

          Why, is speaking the truth banned from now on?

      • mickysavage 4.1.3

        Little said that he would not use parliamentary privilege in this way and if he was going to say something he would say it out of parliament. Rather principled in my personal view.

        • Gosman 4.1.3.1

          Rather foolish in my view. It sucks up his valuable time and costs money that he may well not be able to afford. There is a reason for Parliamentary privilege and this is it.

          • McFlock 4.1.3.1.1

            But of course, if he had restricted it to the House then you’d be calling him a coward hiding behind privilege.

            Whereas thanks to the judge’s ruling, he’s actually extended that privilege a little bit. “Suffer in your jocks”, as our colourful trans-tasmanite neighbours might say.

        • Mr Ed 4.1.3.2

          Little dodged a bullet, he was prepared to pay $100K and that is hardly the actions of an ‘innocent man’. However that aside, the judges ruling regarding parliamentary privilege, in my view, will result in much more ‘opinion’ being voiced outside the House and I am not sure thats a good thing.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.4

        Ask yourself about this Gosman

        “Freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose is seeking $1.25 million in damages from John Key, claiming the Prime Minister defamed him.The action has been taken at the High Court in Auckland”

        On multiple occasions too
        1)$500,000 dollars in aggravated damages relating to comments made by the Prime Minister at a media conference three days after the cup of tea meeting
        2)$500,000 for an interview Mr Key gave to TV3’s Firstline the following day
        3)$250,000 for comments the PM made to journalists at a stand-up press conference in Upper Hutt two days after the incident

        all from NBR

        Even though Little won, instructions from beehive to their drones is to make Little seem lacking in judgement, ignoring the fact Key paid out big for his words.

        Cest la dirty politics

        • Gosman 4.1.4.1

          Yes John Key’s judgement on that was lacking. I don’t believe I’ve ever stated anything to the contrary.

  5. Anne 5

    If the boot had been on the other foot and Andrew Little was prime-minister of a Lab./Green govt. when this conflict of interest occurred, the thunderous noise from the Nats and John Key would have been deafening. And John Key would have pursued that conflict with as much vigour as Andrew Little.

    Key would have been right to do so because on the face of it… a very wealthy couple’s large political donation followed so soon by the awarding of a major contract to the couple’s company did stink to high heaven. Little was only one of many, many hundreds of people who expressed concern, including contributors to this site.

    That the Auditor General of the day found no such ‘conflict of interest’ existed is irrelevant. It was clearly something that needed to be thoroughly investigated.

  6. Keith 6

    What this case and this past 9 years or more have shown is that political donations needs a massive overhaul.

    All donations must be crystal clear, provided by a named REAL person and that money must be from that person, not a trust, not an agent, not a company. Everything must be published very very publicly.

    And those large donors and by large anything over a $1000 should be forbidden from applying for government provided business, in the least.

    I would hate to think what money has bought what donors with this National government. And in such murk any fool knows it is impossible to find the link to the contract awarded and the donation unless someone speaks out.

    It stinks alright and it embeds corruption right at the very foot of government and its little tentacles start reaching out into everyday society. And then its like rust to get rid of and I would argue we are well on the way there.

    For people whose every waking moment is about making their next million or 10 and knowing you have such kindred spirits in a government, donating large sums to their party is just another investment and business transaction cleverly hidden, just like avoiding tax. This must end.

    • saveNZ 6.1

      +1 Keith

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      It stinks alright and it embeds corruption right at the very foot of government and its little tentacles start reaching out into everyday society. And then its like rust to get rid of and I would argue we are well on the way there.

      It’s been that way for awhile. The decline of parties with mass participation started in the late 1980s/early 1990s as the political parties shifted to representing business rather than the people which meant that the political parties had to look for the large donations from business and rich people.

      We need to shift back to the mass party with everyone having a say in the parties policies. Modern technology, such as Loomio, actually makes that possible.

    • Gosman 6.3

      Why? Noone was unaware of the Hagaman’s donation here. The issue is that Little tried to link it to the award of a contract which there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of evidence to support.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1

        The issue is that Little tried to link it to the award of a contract which there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of evidence to support.

        That’s actually not the issue.

        The issue is that a person gave a fairly large donation and then got a massive government contract – in that order. It stinks of corruption.

        As for the lack of evidence, well, this.

      • McFlock 6.3.2

        The issue is that Little tried to link it to the award of a contract

        No, Little wanted our clear processes in least-corruption NZ (lolsarc) to confirm that there was no connection. It wasn’t an accusation, it was a demand for demonstrable integrity.

    • mary_a 6.4

      @ Keith (6) … agree 100%.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    What all this shows is that donations to political parties should be restricted to a maximum of $1000 per year per person. This would mostly eliminate the possibility and the perception of politicians being bought by the rich. Legal entities should not be giving to political parties at all.

    Doing this would have one other benefit in that it would force parties to become mass based yet again and thus increase our democracy. Either that or they’re all going to succumb to our political apathy and die out which would probably force us to other means of political representation.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Draco TB
      I judge that idea to have merit. Make it so!

    • AB 7.2

      Snap Draco. I said something similar below at 9.
      Though I do think $1000 is too much – unimaginably high for most people. Obviously top-up funding from the state would be necessary.
      Totally agree with your point about mass participation.

    • Stephen Doyle 7.3

      Sort of disagree. Any donation over $250.00 should be made transparent. I’ve no objection to the roading lobby, or a union donating to a party of their choice, I just want to know about it.

  8. bwaghorn 8

    ”the Auditor General found no link between the Hagaman deal and the donation.”
    like there was going to be a piece of paper saying .
    ‘dear natcorp if you give me 7 mill i’ll give you a $100k kick back , yous uncle haggi.

    ffs

    • saveNZ 8.1

      +1 bwaghorn – apparently Judith Collins is also as pure as the driven snow according to Auditor General.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Exactly what I was thinking. You can’t prove the existence of a nudge, nudge, wink, say no more deal and yet that is exactly what it looks like we have.

    • dukeofurl 8.3

      The AG report is full of reasons why they didnt look at the heart of the matter- Niue not within their remit.

      It was a whitewash report that shows some signs of lawyers covering peoples arses.

      We got the same with McCully and the enquiry on 9th floor beehive political influences on the SIS.
      Lawyers block the investigators when its powerful people being looked at.

  9. AB 9

    It shows the need for a complete overhaul of political donations and campaign finance. We could reduce both the perception and reality of corrupt influence by restricting donations to named individuals only and cap them at 0.25% of the median full-time wage in any one year. With no donations from organisations -trusts, corporations or unions. This restriction is consistent with the principle of one-person-one-vote, i.e. that each citizen should have equal influence over the result of any election.

  10. Philj 10

    So called justice looks like a lucky dip or a throw of the dice, but that’s our system. Bit like our demockary?

  11. dukeofurl 11

    In some ways the confused result from the jury is the best result- especially when the Hagamans are suing

    If it was more clearly in Littles favour, an appeal would drag it out.
    But the jury found against lani hagaman entirely- thats appealable but the Court of Appeal will likely favour a unanimous verdict of 12 person jury.

    The Earl Hagaman decision appeal route is more difficult as effectively there is no result. Would the appeal courts require a clear cut result from a jury before they consider all the tricky questions, that would mean a retrial, which could be some years away ( surely they cant move this case up the lists twice?)

    Another thing that is strange is the jury gave its answers to the ‘steps’ the Judge recommended they use to reach a decision.
    I thought the only question they get asked first is , have you reached a ( majority ) verdict. If the answer is no. That should mean a mis trail and its over.

    Since when are jury verdicts Venn diagrams?

  12. Carolyn_nth 12

    Would there be a case that could be brought against some Nat MPs and (ex)PMs for defaming Nicky Hager?

  13. tc 13

    I see gossie got the tr@ll duties assigned for this today.

  14. Carolyn_nth 14

    MSM sites are reporting Hagamans will continue to pursue Little in court. This increasingly looks politically-motivated, with malice, in my opinion.

    • mary_a 14.1

      @ Carolyn_nth (14) … Yep it sure does.

      Seems some people don’t know when to give up. Wife number 5 must be desperate.

      I’m picking by the time another trial gets to court, Mr Hagaman would have died. And from what I believe, it’s not possible for a defamation case against a dead person to proceed or continue. However, in that regard I stand to be corrected.

  15. ianmac 15

    Oh No!
    “Lani Hagaman says she and husband will keep fighting Andrew Little in court.” (Stop Press at Stuff.)

    Those who are very wealthy can play silly buggers.

    • Carolyn_nth 15.1

      And High Court has ruled damages awarded to Jordan Williams – to be paid by Colin Craig – is ruled as excessive. The judge says the amount awarded to Williams was a miscarriage of justice.

    • Anne 15.2

      “Lani Hagaman says she and husband will keep fighting Andrew Little in court>”

      I thought ‘husband’ was on his death bed?

      • Neil 15.2.1

        She’s playing the “poor me my husbands dying card” to get sypmathy, I wonder if when he dies will she try to say that Andrew Little caused his death

        • Anne 15.2.1.1

          Hi Neil. just seen your comment.

          If when he dies will she try to say that Andrew Little caused his death.

          What’s the bet she does.

  16. Michael 16

    Will the Hagamans’ appeal and keep the pressure on Little throughout the election campaign? I think they will and the costs to them will outweigh any donation they give the Nats (and ACT) this time around. This case has always been about politics, IMHO, but it’s on Little and his caucus for not getting rid of the Defamation Act 1992 when they had the chance. Perhaps “Lange v Atkinson” provides some explanation for their inaction?

  17. Cinny 17

    Does Lani prioritise ego over caring for and enjoying the last days of a dying man?

    Do things that feed your soul, not your ego, and you will be happy.

    Ego the downfall of many, bad move Lani to continue chasing ego rather than spending time with your unwell husband.

    But hey on the upside, more publicity around political donations and big business relations etc.

  18. mosa 18

    Well done Andrew Little for questioning this deal which stunk to high heaven and seeing through the court action which looks more like a witch hunt the longer it is dragged out.

  19. …a culture of suing politicians for unseemly sums of money in a general election year is something New Zealand would do well to discourage.

    Yes, indeed. But why would National want to discourage it? They have legions of wealthy supporters who can afford to risk a hundred Gs or two on vexatious litigation, the left has pretty much nobody. That’s a piece of leverage National can’t be expected to give up lightly, now it’s discovered it. It will have to be a Labour-led government that does something to discourage this.

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