Labour MP threatens Bloggers

Yesterday David Farrar published a retraction of a story. This morning, ironically as I sit here in Christchurch, I have received the following threat from Lianne Dalziel’s lawyer.

I’m not of a mind to apologise for anything especially when Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little and Chris Hipkins continue to attack me and my mates with scurrilous allegations with no basis in fact. They do so within the protections of parliament like the cowards they are.

I am also not a soft pudding of man like David Farrar when presented with legal challenges.

Might I suggest that Lianne Dalziel takes a big deep breath, and calms down. I would suggest that if she can’t cope with robust political commentary she should seek alternate employment options, such as the Christchurch mayoralty.

I’m looking forward to explaining why I have an honest held belief that Lianne Dalziel is bizarre and irrational.

Dear Cameron,

We act for Hon Lianne Dalziel.

It has been drawn to our attention that you have reproduced on your blog “Whaleoil” material that was first posted on Mr Farrar’s blog “Kiwiblog”. We have been in correspondence with Mr Farrar about that blog. He has accepted that his source was inaccurate and as a result he has withdrawn the post and made the following retraction at http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/category/nz_politics.

Retraction

Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 9:14 p

Earlier on Friday 20 April 2012 Kiwiblog reproduced excerpts from a reader’s e-mail which related to Hon Lianne Dalziel. Kiwiblog now understands that the contents of that e-mail misrepresented the actions of Hon Lianne Dalziel. It is is accepted they were injurious to the reputation of Hon Lianne Dalziel and they are unreservedly retracted.

Kiwiblog apologises to Hon Lianne Dalziel for any distress or inconvenience caused by the error.

The Whaleoil Blog,  republishes  portions of an email allegedly sent to Mr Farrar and is inaccurate and defamatory. It contains numerous inaccuracies which are injurious to the reputation of Ms Dalziel. By way of example only we note the following:

(a) Ms Dalziel did not “occupy” any premises. On all occasions she was present by invitation.

(b) You have insinuated that Ms Dalziel “thinks that there is nothing wrong with unsafe buildings”. This is patently false and clearly defamatory.

(c) You note that Ms Dalziel told CERA representatives that “her husband represents the tenants of the restaurant!” This was taken out of context in a way which infers some improper motive of Ms Dalziel and the use of her public position to prefer her husband’s professional interests. This is clearly defamatory.

(d) You state that Ms Dalziel “kept yelling at the CERA team”. This is not the case. It suggests that Ms Dalziel was acting in an irrational and uncontrolled manner. This is defamatory.

(e) You state that Ms Dalziel’s behaviour was “bizarre”. The narrative you have reproduced is entirely inaccurate and to typify Ms Dalziel’s conduct as bizarre is defamatory.

It is clear that you did not take any steps  to verify the accuracy of the statements you have republished.  Given the fact that you appear not to have verified the accuracy of the statements your own commentary aggravates the defamation. Given the gross inaccuracy of the blog it appears that you did not have reasonable cause to believe that the statements in the email that you have republished where the honest opinion of the author.

Mr Farrar of Kiwiblog has accepted the position as stated above as accurate, presumably after checking with his sources.

You will be aware that under the provisions of the Defamation Act 1992 Ms Dalziel may require you to publish a retraction. We propose that you immediately replace the offending material on Kiwiblog with the following statement:

“Earlier on Friday 20 April 2012 Kiwiblog reproduced excerpts from an email which related to Hon Lianne Dalziel. Whaleoil now understands that the contents of that email, and therefore also the comments of Whaleoil were false. It is accepted that they were injurious to the reputation of Hon Lianne Dalziel and they are unreservedly retracted.

Whaleoil apologises to Hon Lianne Dalziel for any distress or inconvenience caused by this error.

At this time Ms Dalziel seeks only an acknowledgment and apology and does not seek a reply.

On a without prejudice basis we are instructed that if you comply with these requirements by noon today no further action will be taken in this matter.

Duncan Webb Dr
Partner

Lane Neave

137 Victoria Street, Christchurch 8013

PO Box 13149, Christchurch 8141

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