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Pride cometh

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, May 17th, 2012 - 52 comments
Categories: labour, national - Tags: , ,

Judith Collins has finally filed defamation action against Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little. She’s waited until close to the Budget so that the story would be quickly overshadowed and then forgotten. You see, Collins had foolishly got herself between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, having promised to sue, she had to follow through or be taunted forever and be seen as conceding she leaked Pullar’s name. On the other, there’s no way she would win a suit and her leadership aspirations would take a big hit from losing, which would be seen as de facto proof she leaked Pullar’s name.

What to do? Hoping everyone would forget hadn’t worked. Announcing she was dropping it would have been the optimal choice. She hasn’t got a snow-ball’s of winning, the story will get dragged out for years, and, if it makes it to court, the information that will come out about how she operates is bound to seriously embarrass (if she’s hoping that would be cancelled out by embarrassing Mallard and Little in turn, she’s dreaming – Mallard is in his last term, Little hasn’t had time to accumulate skeletons, and she’s wanting to be National’s next leader). It’ll be her reputation in the limelight in a defamation court case, no-one else’s.

But Collins is a very proud person. She would rather aggressively pursue a route that is ultimately going to hurt her more than take a hit to her pride now. And her advisors and confidantes are Slater/Lusk, the geniuses who have fucked up every anti-union campaign in the past six months. So, she’s doing the silly thing and suing.

If she’s lucky, it’ll never make it to court because the judge will dismiss it out of hand for having no prima facie case (how can it be prima facie defamatory to accuse Collins of doing what her collegue Paula Bennett openly and proudly did – release confidential information about a critic of the government?)

If it goes wrong for her, she’ll be losing a court case and having her dirty laundry aired in the lead-up to her planned take-over of National.

The sources in National who leaked the Slater/Lusk stuff must be rubbing their hands in delight. Of the Collins faction, they certainly ain’t.


52 comments on “Pride cometh”

  1. Anne 2

    Now this is the sort of strong, upfront responses that I want to see from Labour MPs. Not the pussy footing around the edges that we often see from some of them.

    Good on you Andrew Little in particular.


    • Labour MP Andrew Little has accused Justice Minister Judith Collins of bullying and intimidation and challenged her to send “thuggish guys” to serve him with defamation papers.

      “They tend to be leather jacket wearing thuggish guys, which is fair enough because they have a tough job to do. They’re not the sort of people that you’d want around your family home. It won’t be a good look.

      “This is about Judith Collins bullying and intimidating. She gets off thinking people will be cowed into submission. Well we won’t be. If she wants to have a fight then we will go to court.”


      Won’t be a good look for who? The more of a spectacle that’s made of it the more of a not good look it will be.

      • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1

        You can’t help yourself, can you Pete? Grow up you Tory shill.

        • Pete George

          You comment says more about you than me. Abuse without adding to the discussion has a name.

          PM on efforts by Labour MP Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little efforts to avoid defamation papers; you can run but you can’t hide

          I’m still doubtful on the wisdom of Collins taking this action but acting like tough boys in hiding doesn’t look very smart.

          • lprent

            In all likelihood this is simply Collins doing some more whining that they aren’t treating the case as being important (because it isn’t).

            But in any case the objective of one side or another in any civil case is usually to increase the costs to the other side. Having people running around to pass legal papers is expensive.

            Wait until Collins starts getting the disclosure requests and the subsequent court rulings to enforce them. Then I am expecting to see some serious whinging.

          • Pascal's bookie

            They’re not hiding Pete. They are just not co-operating.

            At pretty much every step Little and Mallard have made comments that appear to be designed to get the story reported more prominently.

            It’s the opposite of hiding.

            • Pete George

              Whatever you want to call it I don’t think it looks flash all round.

              There’s little risk for Mallard (except a bit of risk of it costing him) as he’s presumably not got long to go in Parliament, and has a reputation that will hardly be (further) tarnished by any outcome.

              Different for Little, I think it’s a big risk for his ambitions – not just the outcome, but how he’s seen to deal with the proceedings.

              Hard to know with Collins – whether she sees herself at the pinnacle of her career or not, and whether she would be damaged by this (there will be some who admire her standing up to nonsense, some won’t but may never be potential supporters anyway).

              • Deano

                Little’s earned himself a huge amount of respect with labour supporters for his hilarious dissing of Collins today.

                You think he should grovel to Collins. Cooperate with her because she’s in government. You want him to be like Dunne. A pathetic toady who only gets angry at other people who threaten to take his place.

                Real people respect people who stand up for themselves, unlike your hair-god.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  That’s not fair. Dunne doesn’t just get angry about the Conservatives. He also rants about the Greens, bus drivers, and revolting constituents.

              • North

                You’re clutching your pearls just a little dramatically there Pete George.

                Shades of Hyacinth Boo-Kay.

                Who cares how flash you think it looks ?

    • Tom Gould 2.2

      Anyone know how many cars she has actually crushed? Is it zero? Great example of personal branding. Talk uber-tough, keep doing it, and then up the ante before anyone figures it out.

      • Te Reo Putake 2.2.1

        You misunderstand, Tom. Crusher’s policy has been so effective she hasn’t needed to crush any cars. As a result of her magnificent plan, there are now no boy racers in NZ, the sales of Evo’s have plummeted and the only noise to be heard in Hornby or the Hutt on Friday nights is the applause of citizens, safe in the knowledge that the only ‘drifting’ being done by the young ‘uns nowadays is off to sleep at a decent hour.

  2. Tiger Mountain 3

    Heh, Crusher (meaner than the more accurate ‘crushless’) is on dare I say it, the tigers tail with this action. Andrew Little has been quite feisty which is one indicator Eddie is correct.

  3. Nick 4

    Even if Mallard isn’t (wasn’t) in his last term he wouldn’t be embarrassed by any skeletons. Mallard and Shane Jones are good examples of how to deal with indiscretions, rumours or things that’ll get them unwanted attention. Own up to it, and move on. They both even joke about their respective issues from time to time. I can’t imagine Judith Collins joking about anything at all, much less herself.

    Sure people still bring up ticket scalping or hotel porn from time to time, but its hardly, persistent or career destroying

    Banks and Collins could both learn something from this, but they seem to live in a bubble when they think they deserve different or special treatment to the general riff raff. Once you start covering things up, or making threats you need to have a sensible exit strategy or a big shovel.

  4. Markm 5

    Would be good for Little and Mallard to show some respect for the law, they’re MP s after all
    If they’ve got nothing to hide what are they afraid of.

    • Deano 5.1

      It doesn’t look like they’re afraid of anything. You read Little’s comments.

      Or are you whining because they haven’t done Crushless’s work for them and advised where to serve papers?

    • Anne 5.2

      Silly Markm.
      It’s Collins who is afraid and has plenty to hide. That’s why she’s filed defamation proceedings to keep the truth hidden for as long as possible. Any court case is at least a couple of years away.

      Eddie is right. It’s her reputation for the chopping board. Mallard clearly has something devastating on her. He’ll release it when the time is right. Two can play the game of “political animus”.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6

    Not sure how smart it is to publicly declare you intend to evade service. Collins will just go to Court to get an order that it be served by advertisement in the newspaper (and she’ll get costs for it).

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      I don’t imagine they’ll be shifting out of their homes.

    • Deano 6.2

      How do you ‘evade service’? They’re just saying they’re not going to tell her where to serve papers. Let her work it out herself.

      She would only get costs for that if her case was found to have legs.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.2.1

        She’d get costs for the application for substituted service. Regardless of the strength of her case.

  6. Trevor Mallard 7

    Me final term who suggested that ? Midpoint of career more like it. Was involved in discussion in relation to one of my predecessors Walter Nash yesterday. Good precedent.

    • ianmac 7.1

      Trevor now mellowed and awash with wisdom has a seat in the Chamber of Oracles, and a wicked look in his eyes. Here we are in 2023 and all Hail The Right Honorable Sir Trevor Mallard! His opponents lie forgotten and trampled in the cess pit of historical would-have beens.All hail!

    • higherstandard 7.2

      Yes I’d expect you’d be the sort to trough on as long as possible.

  7. captain hook 8

    these tories are not only bent but sly as well.
    they’ll get their comeuppance soon.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    The process servers may be coming for Mallard and Little but it will be the police who will be coming for Banks.

    • Vicky32 9.1

      The process servers may be coming for Mallard and Little but it will be the police who will be coming for Banks.

      Speriamo! I mean, we hope so, so much! Yeah! 🙂

  9. Jimmie 10

    There is a 3rd option which Eddie has conveniently overlooked: that the case proceeds to Court and Little & Mallard are found guilty of defamation.

    If this occurs 6 months or 1 year out from the election it won’t exactly be helpful to Labour’s election chances now will it.

    Just another move on the NZ political chess board.

    Also coughing up for legal expenses will not exactly be cheap for either of them.

    It would have been easier, if either of them didn’t have documented proof that Collins leaked the name, to simply apologise and move on. Unfortunately however Polies and apologies tend to be difficult bedfellows.

    • Bob 10.1

      Jimmie, good to see someone has their eyes open!

      This court case has massive repurcussions on either side, Collins loses she will have to fall on her sword, Collins wins, Mallard and Little are gone, either way, if this case finishes before the next election, and nothing earth shattering happens in the polls between now and then, this has the potential to be a massive play.

      I am right leaning, but I can’t pick which way this will go, Collins seems confident but so does Mallard, something has to give here. I fear Little is out of his depth on this one (unless Mallard has clued him up) but his comments today only hurt his case. More defamation on the day you hear you are getting served defamation papers? Idiot.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 10.2

      lol it’s the Jimmy and Bob echo chamber.

  10. felix 11

    lolz Collins can kiss the Nat leadership goodbye now. Too tainted with the grubby stink of political squabbling.

    Bit sad for voyeurs as she would’ve been train wreck of a leader but probably better for the nation.

  11. OneTrack 12

    But Collins was too scared to file the defamation action. It was all just bluff. Wasn’t it?

    • felix 12.1

      Yep. Her bluff was called and she’s trying to save face.

      She painted herself into a corner and now she has to make good on threats that I’m quite sure she would prefer remained idle.

  12. Rob 13

    These guys should stand up and enter into this process like the respected elected officials they are trying to be.  Running around and hidding in the shadow’s does nothing for them, especially when they have been they have been telling the country for Collins to “bring it on”.  Telling stories that they will be served by guys in leather leather jackets is a joke.  What the frick is wrong with a leather jacket.

    Well it is on, do they have the kahuna’s to front.

    Nope …..didn’t think so. 

    • Can Mallard wigggle out of this one? http://www.imperatorfish.com/2012/05/new-wiggles-line-up-announced.html

      And Graeme Edgeler with an informative and sometimes amusing post (and comments) on serving:

      If the case is as likely as they claim to prove embarrassing for the Minister, one might wonder why they don’t want to bring it on.


      • felix 13.1.1

        “If the case is as likely as they claim to prove embarrassing for the Minister, one might wonder why they don’t want to bring it on.”

        Because it’s not just the bit that happens in the courtroom that’s embarrassing, belittling and damaging to Collins.

        It’s the media chatter. The recurring headlines. The talkback grumbling. The slow burn, the ongoing painting of a picture of a minister out of her depth, out of control, seething with anger and rage, unfit for her office.

        It’s this, Pete, this that we’re engaged in right this moment. In these very exchanges you and I are having right now.

        • Pete George

          I don’t think the risks are all on one person – there’s other MPs (and parties) who could be afflicted.

          It could put Trevor Mallard’s indicated retirement plans for 2040 in jeopardy.

          • felix

            Correct. The picture of an out of control Minister reflects poorly on the PM who keeps her on and calls into question his judgement. By extension and to a lesser degree, the suitability of the rest of his cabinet appointments also comes into question, which to an even lesser degree has the potential to reflect poorly on their respective parties, and so on.

            Ripples on the pond, Pete, ripples on the pond.

            • Rob

              So if this is all well known, why arn’t they front footing it, aranging to get served and getting it out into the sunlight.

              Who is calling who’s bluff here. 

              • Pascal's bookie

                At the moment it’s not in court. It’s in the media.

                Making an appointment to be served won’t get it into court much quicker, but by refusing they make sure that the story in the media will be much bigger, and bloggers et al will have more to riff off, and cartoonists will have something to work with, etc.

                See a round up of the results here:


                The bigger the noise you make, the harder it is to back down I reckon.

                So who’s bluffing?

                God knows how confident Collins is, but she’s been on the back foot since she first released the threat to sue, as minister, on govt letterhead. That was a bold stroke, but since then?


  13. Treetop 14

    I’m not defending Collins.

    How can a person be assured that when an email has been sent to an MP that the email is not sent on to another political party?

    Can the email be sent to another political party without the consent of the initial sender? (I am aware that emails are sent within the party and permission is not asked for this from the sender).

    It is my understanding that MPs are covered differently by the Privacy Act and that Parliamentary Services have regulations for MPs regarding correspondence from the public.

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