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.