With the hope that this comment will not result in a solicitor’s letter from Chapman Tripp it seems that Colin Craig is overly sensitive to criticism. He has had Chapman Tripp write to Green’s leader Russel Norman seeking an apology and retraction for Norman saying the following:
Now the thing about Colin Craig is he thinks that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and a gay man’s place is in the closet.”
As Craig is obviously very sensitive about his reputation I would ask people to be careful about how they comment but I have heard much, much, much worse being said about politicians. And it is not unknown for Conservative politicians to prefer that women occupy traditional roles in marriage including those that require significant amounts of time in the kitchen and gay rights do not normally feature large in those policies which conservatives advocate for.
If Craig is upset that he has been wrongly maligned for being unsympathetic to gay rights then he could come out and say what he actually believes in. Most Kiwis prefer that people are up front about what they believe in.
Craig does seem to have a habit of reaching for the lawyers when someone says something that is not nice about him. The last occasion was when the Civilian claimed that Craig said this about Maurice Williamson’s speech on gay rainbows and the Marriage Equality bill:
Williamson likes to talk about big gay rainbows,” said Craig, “but it would help if he understood what the rainbow actually means. After Noah’s flood, God painted a giant rainbow across the sky, which was a message that he would never again flood the world, unless we made him very angry. And we have.”
The article was clearly satirical and I should add, quickly, that Craig never actually said this. It was a joke.
The threat of action against Ben Uffindell resulted in this outstanding response by Danyl McLaughlan which has to be read to be appreciated. The failure of Craig to get his lawyers to write to McLaughlan seeking a retraction of the statement that that he (Craig) enjoyed having his nipples grated with a citrus zester could make some wonder about the allegation although I again hasten to add that I am sure it is not true. As well this further allegation by Uffindell that Craig smacked other people’s children for money passed without response. For completion I am certain that this also was biting funny satire meant to be enjoyed by people laughing and I am sure that it is not true either.
Craig has not been beyond saying bad things about others. For instance he recently insulted all young Kiwi women by claiming that they were the most promiscuous in the world. Perhaps to respond there could be a group defamation action by young kiwi women against Mr Craig for making that allegation.
To be honest Craig needs to get over it. Politics is a tough game and these sorts of issues should be debated publicly and passionately. Sending lawyers letters and attempting to resolve these debates in Court is ludicrous in the extreme.
And the case of Atkinson v Lange has established a high protective threshold for defamation cases brought by politicians. The case recognised a defence of qualified privilege for comments about the actions and qualities of actual or prospective politicians so far as those actions or qualities directly affect their capacity to meet public responsibilities. Generally discussion about his social views must, in the absence of malice, be protected.
Norman has responded by saying he will not be apologising and has referred to a tweet from Craig where he suggested that homosexuality was not normal. Norman will obviously not be backing down. The two of them should find a hall somewhere and debate the issues. This will allow Craig to say what he does believe in, quickly and clearly.
The stupid thing about defamation proceedings is that it takes months and months for the debate to be advanced. If Craig just said what he does believe in and responded to the allegations then this debate can happen rather quickly. Reaching for the lawyers will have a chilling effect on the debate and will stifle a discussion that should be robust and vigorous.
Craig should also be wary about the Streisand effect. And he needs to grow a thicker hide. I hear this is vital for anyone wanting to have a long career in politics.
lprent: Putting this post on moderation. If Colin Craig wants to screw up his political career by being a thin-skinned prima donna like Barbara Streisand, then I’d prefer the site to not be too closely involved in watching the process. On the other hand, Colin Craig is a total munter if he doesn’t think that this is going to make him an object of ridicule – especially by the blogs. The weak-kneed gutless wimp (my opinion) should decide if he wants to be a politician or not. Because Russel Norman’s opinion of his attitudes is going to be the least of the scrutiny that every politician can expect. So I will personally select the comments that are allowed through here to ensure that I will personally get involved in the fun.
BTW: Check out Andrew Geddis at Pundit saying exactly the same opinion as Russel Norman. I’d expect that Chapman Tripp will be overjoyed at the fees.