Toby Manhire on Colin Craig

The old adage that any publicity is good publicity might not actually be true. Toby Manhire writes:

“Colin Craig” is New Zealand’s answer to Ali G. “Colin Craig” is a fictional character, a circus clown, a satirical device. When you think about it, it’s as unmistakable as the sparkle in his eye. Would a real person say “at the end of the day” at the start of every second sentence?

The penny dropped this week when “Colin Craig” went one step too far, the cheeky monkey, issuing a legal threat via what appeared to be a reputable legal firm demanding that a little-known but obviously satirical website, The Civilian, retract an obviously satirical remark attributed to him.


An aspiring MP screaming defamation over an innocuous bit of obvious satire? I don’t think so. A millionaire demanding a $500 contribution to legal costs from a 21-year-old just out of university? Inconceivable.

The political stupidity of Colin Craig is astonishing.

If “Colin Craig” were real, would he be so lacking in wit, confidence and courage as to issue stiff ultimatums to a tiny website run by a pipsqueak in his pyjamas, while letting stand for all time homoerotic imaginings – all “powerful thighs” and “firm buttocks” – attributed to him in a “secret diary” published by newspapers across the country? I don’t think so.

And even if “Colin” did get puffed up like a peacock, sensible lawyers would gently talk him out of it. Wouldn’t they?

There’s more evidence that this man of many first names is a giant tease. The thundering legal letter observes that the article in question – headlined “Maurice Williamson looking pretty stupid after floods” – includes words that their client “never made”. It splutters: “It is a fiction created by you to make him look ridiculous”.

Snort! The letter continues: “The statement cannot be dismissed as satire in the circumstances, particularly when it is published alongside quotes from Maurice Williamson which we understand may largely be accurate.”

Wonderful! As any half-awake intern could have told them, the quotes from Williamson are invented, too. As is the one attributed to John Key, calling Williamson “a big idiot”.

In case that weren’t enough, the lawyer’s letter goes on to refer to “words which were not said by Mr Crag”. As if a legal firm with such a proud history and so many bright minds would misspell its own client’s name. Are they all in on this delicious charade? Bravo.

Heh, the man of many first names.

Who, then, is pulling the strings and our legs? Is “Colin Cra(i)g” conjured up by the same genius behind the long-running cabaret act John “Cabbage Boat” Banks? Is he a guerrilla-marketing stunt by enfant terrible Ben Uffindel – a kind of Pantomime Trojan Horse to attract attention to his fledgling comedy website?

Is he an automaton, controlled by Steven Joyce, deployed to distract attention from this week’s bewildering Albanian-Stalinist-North-Korean-Polish shipyard metaphor incontinence?

Is he a Weta Workshop side project? Has he been 3D-printed by Maurice Williamson?

Disrobe, “Colin Craig”, we cry. Let us stand in ovation before this comedy masterwork, this colossus of ridiculous fiction. I suggest a special gong at the next Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Remove the latex mask, “Colin”. Enter our warm embrace

For you must be a character, a chimera, an invention. Mustn’t you? The alternative is too bizarre to contemplate.

Colin Craig is certainly way too bizarre to be trusted in parlimanet, but then again the voters are seeing that….he has spent the thick end of $3 million coming third.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.