Little facing lawsuit after smearing Hagamans

Andrew Little is no stranger to defamation. He settled with Judith Collins after smearing her and now he may face another action over one of his nasty smears.

Scenic Hotel Group founders Earl and Lani Hagaman are considering legal action over Labour leader Andrew Little’s claims about the timing of a donation from Mr Hagaman to the National Party a month before the hotel group was awarded a contract in Niue.

The $101,000 donation was made on 18 September, the last week of the election campaign in 2014. A month later Scenic Hotels won a contract to manage the Matavai Hotel on Niue, which is owned by a trust appointed by Foreign Minister Murray McCully on behalf of the Niue Government.

Mr Little said the timing “stinks to high heaven” and wrote to the Auditor General last week asking for an investigation into the donation and the handling of the contract, which was signed between Scenic Hotel Group and the hotel board in October 2014.

The Auditor General is yet to decide whether to investigate but in a statement, the Hagamans said they would welcome an investigation from the Auditor General and would cooperate fully.

Lani Hagaman said the management contract for Matavai Resort Niue was gained by Scenic Hotel Group in an open and contestable process against other hotel groups.

The couple were also considering other legal options to address Mr Little’s attack.

“I can assure the public that for us the only thing that will ‘stink to the high heavens’ will be smell of roses which blossom from the fertiliser Andrew Little likes to spread around to gain his own notoriety.”

Ouch. Mrs Hagaman is a weapons-grade sledger.

Little may have other political problems. If an inquiry is set up then Jacinda Ardern’s father will have to give evidence under oath and I suspect that won’t go well for Little either.

Ian Fitzgerald, the chairman of the Matavai Niue Limited which runs the Matavai has also now spoken, saying he would have “absolutely no concerns” if the Auditor-General looked into the process.

Mr Fitzgerald is one of four board members appointed by the Niue Tourism Property Trust to oversee the running of the hotel, which $18 million of New Zealand aid money has been invested in. The agreement was negotiated and signed between Scenic Hotels and the board rather than the Trust itself. Mr Fitzgerald said he was unaware Mr Hagaman had donated to the National Party and the board had only dealt with Scenic Hotels Group’s managing director, Brendan Taylor. It was in contract negotiations with Scenic Group for six months before the contract was awarded – well before the donation was made.

Mrs Hagaman said it was a “political beat-up” by Mr Little.

“We are not interested in being Mr Little’s political football. These nasty and unfounded allegations need to stop and I would urge Andrew Little to stop wasting tax payer money on trying to promote his own political party and ego.”

Mrs Hagaman said in the past the couple had voted for Labour.

“One of the privileges of being a New Zealander is the ability to have freedom of choice and vote or donate to any political party one chooses. In the past both Earl and I have voted Labour but that was when the party had strong morals and direction and did not practice bully tactics on innocent people.”

There are two of the missing million and, as a result of Little’s intemperate and ill-advised statements, they are likely to be missing forever.

If he is sued I wonder if Little will try to tax caucus for his legal costs like last time. I suspect he will be told GFY in no uncertain terms.


– NZ Herald


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  • Sally

    At least the list of people Labour can go to for donations is getting even more shorter. Soon it will only take half a day for phone calls. They will become a party for the little people.

    • john Doe

      The donation jar is likely to be returned full of brass razoos. His union enablers will have to foot the bill for the next election campaign.

      • Tom

        Hopefully after they pay their tax bills.

  • Wayne Hodge

    What is interesting are the comments by Bryan Gould in his ‘opinion’ piece for the Herald. I wonder if they might be actionable or at least worthy of reporting to Press Council?

    • Grizz30

      I am surprised you read his column. His columns are so fictitious and full of sanctimonious drivel that I now move on immediately after seeing his name beside anything he touches.

    • Second time around

      That was what I thought and I was surprised the Herald published it. Even to mention someone’s name in an article focussed on Panama sleeze and corruption is border line, but then adding that McCully has form and repeating Andy’s unexpurgated pronouncements seems to tip it over the edge. It is all in Gould’s mind and he is getting on in years, but that is no reason to publish it.

  • yoyoyo

    Couple of amazing sledges in there. Mr Little better be careful.

    Hell hath no fury like a women scorned.

    Mrs Hagaman to become a regular WO columnist please

    • Michelle

      Nice to see someone standing up and fighting back hopefully she has a swing at the Media party while she is at it

  • andrewo

    Ah! So this is why Little Andy has no money – he loses it through slander actions

  • OT Richter

    I wonder if the Labour caucus is regretting giving Little a free reign yet. More like giving him enough rope…

  • axeman

    After the Auditor General investigates then the very next words from the Hagaman’s should be see you in court.
    Some how I doubt the Auditor General will investigate as Little and Labour will be back pedaling and behind close doors saying that they are happy enough with the information that has come out so far
    This is only going to get worse for Little and could well be the final nail in the coffin.
    Either the Labour party decide to through him under the a bus or he’s there till the next election and we have a 4th term National Govt The real question is can the Vultures wait?

  • murrayirwin

    Possibly the on-going legal costs Little has faced explains his relatively impecunious situation?

  • Cookie Bear

    I can assure the public that for us the only thing that will ‘stink to the high heavens’ will be smell of roses which blossom from the fertiliser Andrew Little likes to spread around to gain his own notoriety.”

    This has to be sledge of the year.

  • Grizz30

    Little could just come out publicly and say sorry and admit that he was wrong. It would save a whole lot of time, money and hassle.

    • contractor

      Should, but perhaps if Comrade Clark is any role model then no chance. I mean, she also was never ever wrong in her life. Lefties are never wrong.

  • DangerMice

    Isn’t great to hear the maligned hitting back so magnificently instead of the usual “no comment”

  • George Carter

    Will Jacinda be burning the midnight oil calling daddy in an attempt to ward off any lawsuit or will she accidentally forget and just sit back with the popcorn?

    • axeman

      If it was me I would order up the popcorn and enjoy the show

      • Keeping Stock

        I wonder; do they make such a thing as chardonnay-infused popcorn? That would kill two birds with one stone, although I still prefer beer with mine.

  • Keeping Stock

    Last year, Andrew Little stood Carmel Sepuloni down from her Social Development role when Sepuloni’s mother was convicted of benefit fraud.

    Jacinda Ardern is Labour’s Justice spokesperson. Given that the Justice portfolio covers such issues as donations to political parties, and given that Little has effectively accused Ardern’s father of being involved in some way in dodgy dealings that “stink to high heaven”, surely he should also stand Jacinda down if the A-G decides to investigate.

    But does he have the stomach to do that, and if he did, would he survive the fallout?

    • Second time around

      The RNZ interview with Susie Ferguson broaches that question. Little said they were completely different as Jacinda’s dad is not accused of anything. That may be the point, that Little himself does not truly believe there is any wrongdoing,but likes harassing McCully and National donors with frivolous complaints to semi judicial authorities.

      • Annoyed

        Also, Sepuloni was actively asking questions in question time that directly related to what her mother was being accused of.

  • stephen2d

    This explains the media silence yesterday, as they had to retreat in McCarten’s dungeon to revise their strategy and what exactly “stinks” (no I don’t mean tax evasion).

  • Cadwallader

    It seems that Little’s conduct in this instance is an encapsulation of the methods adopted by Trades Union. Make a statement, shout it out with little regard to its authenticity,
    then belligerently defend it. This time I think Little has picked the wrong target as Mr and Mrs Haggaman are worldly wise and able to defend themselves aggressively if needs be. Good for them! The other dimension to the results of Little’s outburst will be the effects it has on his relationship with Jacinda and her family. Hollywood has seldom had a better plot!

  • Isherman

    Little is doubling down, now saying the suspicion was justified when a donor who is involved in a government tender process wins.
    That’s funny, how come this is suspicious, yet holding secret meetings with Big Pharma, and then suddenly pushing their product for funding is apparently not?

    God, I hope he doesn’t find the light switch anytime soon….I could watch this clown fall over himself all day, its hilarious.

    • Wayne Hodge

      What is so funny is that he seems not to see the inconsistencies in his stances.

      • stephen2d

        What is less funny is that MSM is not calling Little out on these incosnistencies, like the big pharma meetings, Carmel Sepuloni’s standing down, etc. But that is not a surprise.

        • Isherman

          The meat of the issue that he appears to be raising is one of ‘undue influence’, which is truly ironic given that was they only way he ended up in the leaders job was the same undue influence possessed by his Union cronies. He certainly didn’t win it on merit, ability or dare I say popularity did he. Bit rich of him to take the moral high ground there.

          • Wayne Hodge

            I hardly think he is occupying any moral high ground.

          • Annoyed

            Especially if he’s “tithing” some of his income to the Unions. I wonder if they’re holding that question until closer to the election?

        • KGB

          To be consistent should JA be stood down while her father is cleared of any involvement?
          If indeed this was a dodgy deal it would have required everyones participation?
          Ridiculous I know, but Little is all about fairness.

        • contractor

          Indeed, it is one heck of a tale, at least as big as ponytailgate I’d think. Could be really big for media sales?

      • That’s because he’s a leftie.

  • Graeme

    Perhaps that is why Little cannot list any assets, he is saving up to pay for any legal actions.

  • shykiwibloke

    Methinks he doth protest too much. There has to be more to this. Is it possible one or more unions didn’t quite get the terms they wanted with this deal, or with those involved in the past? Is Jacinda the real target? Cornered animals will lash out at anyone after all.

    • Christie

      Or did Grant Robertson hand him a fish?

    • SAM51

      Or, just a completely different angle, has Jacinda been given some information by an insider i.e. Daddy? Just a thought

  • Greg M

    Mr Little in his infinite wisdom has decided to slag off a well respected family in our tourism industry, our biggest export earner, outside of parliamentary privilege. I hope they kick him good and hard.

  • kayaker

    “The Auditor General is yet to decide whether to investigate but in a
    statement, the Hagamans said they would welcome an investigation from
    the Auditor General and would cooperate fully”.

    Angry’s response to this? He’s glad that the Hagamans will be co-operating with the A-G’s enquiry. The gall of the man!

    • Tom

      I take it Little will be co-operating too and laying out all his”evidence” to the inquiry.

  • Genevieve

    The Auditor General should not be a tool that Little can use at the taxpayer’s expense, to attack successful individuals, in a futile attempt to increase his popularity.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Little can use his law skills to defend himself, money should be no problem with all his earnings and no assets. Meanwhile, Jacinda will be appearing in more women’s weekly rags to talk about her leadership qualities.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard
  • cows4me

    You were wondering the other day where all Andy’s wages disappear to, presto we have a winner.

  • Orca

    What would be useful, is if someone were to compile a chronological list of all of Labour’s smear campaigns. There have been so many, I sure can’t remember them all offhand. It might be a useful memory-refresher for the next election.


    Angry union bullying tactics….he will never change!

  • roblin

    He should just declare that Labour is in crisis. Presto, problem sorted!

  • Tom

    Does anyone know when the next Labour party conference is? It could be fun!

  • edenman

    This was a week AL had the opportunity to standout and be seen as a leader as JK and most of the Govt ministers are out of nz.. No he picks on something he thinks he can hit the Govt with without fully understanding what he was doing. He needs to to understand what happens when things ricochet. and you don’t get out of the way.

  • Big_Al

    Well, all i can say is “good on the Hagermans” go for it and sue the pants off this nasty and obnoxious Little. His mouth has been running out of control with all the verbal diarrhea he has been spouting for far too long now and i believe the general public and many of his fellow Labour caucus have had enough. If this is his version of how a countries politics should be run then there is no place for him anywhere near a government department. To make it worse for himself, the idiot has been making most of his libelous claims out in public and away from any parliamentry privilage. Is he just plain stupid or what!!

    • Dog Breath

      There must be a tipping point within the Labour Caucus to rebell against the nonsense that is Andrew Little and Matt Maccarten.

      • contractor

        Hope not. He’s doing the very best thing he can for his country – making a mockery of Labour, which is just as well because the rest in Labour are really light weight.

  • anniem

    Did his mother never tell him, “Put brain in gear before opening mouth” I think not.

    • Isherman

      His mother was a National voter…he would have either told her she was wrong or ignored her, and I suggest that only it because it’s as plain as day to me that taking good advice is something he never quite learned to do.

  • Tiger

    What happened to the Little boy who cried wolf? People stopped listening to him…

  • zotaccore

    And where is McCreedy when needed? This is the sort of thing he likes to launch civil proceedings against people. Although, if it comes from the left, it’s not serious enough, because when the left do it, it’s right.

  • benniedawg

    Seriously how much longer can they have this fool head up the labour party? He probably could have got away with this stunt had he quietly suggested that perhaps some investigation into the donation/deal might be warranted. No, instead he goes full retard firing excrement in every direction. Even managing to splatter some on Jacinda. He really is a liability to labour and Nationals best friend.

    • JustTinkering

      Chris Trotter on Radio Live desperately trying to defend spitle. Rodney gives him a backlash of the truth.

    • waldopepper

      sshhh. could you please keep those comments to yourself, or at least whisper them quietly lol. little is the best thing thats ever happened to national, so the longer he is leader of labour, the better for the country.

  • WBC

    Ah the ease with which they make him look like a fool. Good on them, and thanks to Mr Little’s publicity and ineptitude he has now made Scenic Circle a prime choice for accommodation.

  • Bruce Rayner

    Perhaps his own party has set him up, what a golden opportunity to get rid of him and rest of his obnoxious caucus backers.

  • Ruahine

    Have often stayed at Scenic Circle Hotels. Great value and very professional Staff.