Andrew Little facing defamation action from Hagamans

Another of Andrew Little’s smears looks to have backfired with the aggrieved parties notifying him he needs to withdraw the smears or face a long and debilitating defamation action.

Labour leader Andrew Little has been threatened with defamation action by the owners of a hotel chain.

Earl Hagaman, the founder of the Scenic Hotel Group, said Mr Little had a week to retract and apologise for comments he made last month about the management of a resort owned by Matavai Niue Limited.

If Mr Little did not do so, he would face defamation proceedings, Mr Hagaman said in a statement.

Mr Little made the comments outside Parliament’s debating chamber, and was therefore not covered by legal privilege.

Mr Little said he had received a letter from the Hagaman’s lawyer this morning. He was now “considering the issue and taking advice”.

He added: “I will not be restrained from undertaking my constitutional role of calling the government of the day to account.”

On April 18, Labour called for the Auditor General to look into Scenic Hotels Group’s contract to manage the Matavai resort after it was discovered that Mr Hagaman, gave a $101,000 donation to National the month before the contract was announced in 2014.

Mr Little said at that time that the close timing of the donation to the awarding of the contract “stinks to high heaven”.  

Mr Hagaman and wife Lani Hagaman said that after seeking advice, their solicitor had notified the Labour leader today that defamation proceedings would ensue “unless the position can be properly retrieved”.

Lani Hagaman said their lawyers had confirmed their view that Mr Little’s allegations were “false and defamatory”.

“We are asking for a full retraction and apology because no one should be verbally attacked and denigrated because they believe in democracy and the right to make their own unsolicited political choice on who they want to give a donation to,” Lani Hagaman said.

“The decision to make the donation was completely unsolicited and was Earl’s personal decision and nothing to do with the Scenic Hotel business.”

Lani Hagaman criticised Mr Little’s use of his Parliamentary role to attack their business.

She said her and Earl did not “come from power or privilege” and had strived to give others a livelihood and provide support to regional economies “where other big hotel chains won’t invest”.

“The position Andrew Little holds is one of power and privilege. It should be a privilege to be elected into Parliament and work hard for the people of New Zealand, rather than to cast unjustifiable slurs on people because they have made a donation to the party of his prime political opponent.”

The last time Andrew Little defamed someone was Judith Collins and she marched him towards the courtroom steps before he capitulated and settled.

Labour MPs I’ve spoken to have said if Little thinks he can get them to contribute to a fighting fund he is sorely mistaken.


– NZ Herald


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  • digby

    “The position Andrew Little holds is one of power and privilege. It should be a privilege to be elected into Parliament and work hard for the people of New Zealand” – Angry Andrew wasn’t voted into this position, his union cronies placed him into this position of power. He couldn’t get enough votes to get himself a set. Labour is reaping the fruits of its own strategies. Stupid is as stupid does.

    • Lance Ralph

      I quite agree, I struggle to understand how the Labour leader can truly claim to have a constitutional role considering the base to which he is beholden.

      • Woody

        Here is how it must play out in his mind.

        1. Rejected by my home electorate. (Well they are stupid anyway)

        2. Rejected by the party when tilting for the Leadership role (Stupid people again)

        3. Rejected by Caucus (Everybody agrees that they are stupid)

        4. Told by the unions that he is the man for the job (See, a winner all along)

        5. Taking Labour down in the Polls (See, winner)

        6. Personally polling barely above zero (I am still here, so winner)

        7. Don’t like John Key (Winner. winner, winner)

        Have you noticed that there is hardly any difference between winner and whiner?

  • axeman

    Oh what a beautiful day

  • wanarunna

    Oh to be a fly on the wall in Fraser House.
    I can’t see that Andrew has any alternative than to issue an apology. He could call their bluff, but you would be foolish to do so when on the back foot against someone with deep pockets. Oh wait, we are talking about Andrew Little here, so perhaps that is a possibility.

  • Cadwallader

    I wager this is NOT the leading story on either of the TV networks tonight, nor will Ms Smalley give it an airing.

    • KGB

      Surprisingly it was on the midday news. About 3rd up :)

      • Ross15

        Probably because the MSM luvvies are sharping their knives to attack Little or it might be further down the line and they are actually starting to twist them.

        • Cadwallader

          No mention on Newstalk at 1pm. I suppose the msm staff there will be readying themselves for an internal war over who is to get the heave-ho once the merger is completed. My vote is for Smalley to be at the front of the queue, followed by either of the “Two Tims.”

    • Nige.

      There seems to be a tide turning of sorts. I believe someone said a week or so ago they predicted the media will get sick of little before long and will turn on him in the hope that labour might insert someone sexier in there as leader. Id beleive it.

  • EpochNZ

    “He added: “I will not be restrained from undertaking my constitutional role of calling the government of the day to account.”

    We’ve noticed, not even his common sense can restrain him from saying stupid things…I wonder if he raised his voice and stamped his feet when he said it?

    • shykiwibloke

      I interpreted the same statement as ” I will ignore the laws that govern us all and I think this is justified if I see political advantage in doing so” – good picket line tactics don’t work when you wear the big boys Y-fronts mr little.

  • Lance Ralph

    posted in the wrong place – this a reply to digby

  • sheppy

    What’s it to be Andy? If what you said is true then have your day in court, if its not then you are very lucky that you get a chance to apologise, especially as what you said is out there, and any apology will no doubt will be hidden away by the Media Party, if its even reported at all.
    Actions have consequences, and that should apply to all

  • Seriously?

    Well well, there’s Little a dilemma.

    I suspect he is going to need to defend it, not because he is right to but just because he has to.

    Does anyone know the outcome of the Auditor General complaint / when that outcome might be expected? The outcome may provide him with a politically acceptable reason to apologize or a justification for his stance in not doing so, but I have not heard an outcome and it seems that the Hagamans might not be willing to let Little wait and see. Good on them.

    • metalnwood

      My money (and guessing his as well) is on an apology. Where would the money come from and I bet the rest in labour are not wanting to deplete funds anymore for one of Andy’s statements he has come up with by himself.

      • PhantomsDoc

        Can you imagine Angry Andy apologising to one of those rich and entitled people who deny the workers their due rights and use their power and money to trample them?

        I would imaging he will see this as a crusade against those who he has fought his entire, hard working, life.

      • stephen2d

        He will try to apologise in private only. Too gutless and too big a loss of his face if he goes public, all this is now is his posturing. I hope they ask for a public apology only.

        • Nermal

          I’ve always been told that if I’m wrong I need to apologise in the same place and manner as where I made my original claim.

    • OneTrack

      If he does apologise, he will probably be declared a traitor to the cause by the remaining activists in the Labour hierarchy.

  • Dave


    oh, and Good luck to the Hagamans. I hope they might like to string this out, embarrass and smear Mr Little as much as little embarrassed and defamed them.

    They didn’t deserve any of this, quietly going about their good business, employing kiwis.

    I only hope Mr Ross Adern (Jacinda’s dad) also feels he was defamed and sues as well.

  • Isherman

    I’m torn. Watching Andy grovel and beg with an insincere apology or be dragged through the courts…not sure which I would enjoy more.
    That said, if he fought and lost, how much renewed pressure on his [cough] leadership would there be?
    And Why did the Hagamans give him until next Friday?, I would have made it 4.00 pm tomorrow, Friday 13th….lucky for some.

  • jonno1

    I loved the phrase ‘the party of his prime political opponent’. Mr Little sees himself as one day leading a grand coalition, but I think he’s dreamin’.

  • KGB

    I hope his assets are in a Trust!

    • Barnacles2

      Ha ha if so, he hasn’t declared it in the pecuniary interests list, he might have to take out a second mortgage…

  • John Colbert

    So lani’s the daughter ?

    • Keeping Stock

      Lani Hagaman is Earl Hagaman’s wife John. And she is a very smart cookie, as is her husband.

      And to think, Earl Hagaman used to vote Labour…

  • Bob Dazzler

    Labours coffers are low, an election is barely over the horizon. He will do a mealy mouthed apology.

    • Keeping Stock

      Not only the General Election Bob, but a by-election in Mt Roskill if Goff wins Auckland. And they have no idea where the money is coming from.

      • wilson

        Maybe he could set a give, A Little page

  • Big_Al

    Is’nt Karma a great thing. I first heard of this on the midday radio news but no sign of anything on Stuff as yet. If his statements are correct then he is still addressing this with his usual arrogant attitude. Will he ever learn? I doubt it.

  • Jax

    Little is lucky he has an easy out here – he should take it and move on if he has any brains. He probably wont and then he will learn a not so little lesson in defaming people who have means. Even thou it was entirely predictable to all but the most stupid that this would happen.

  • cows4me

    Now we know where all his money goes.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Captain YFront will be reciting the union mantra “you can’t get me I’m part of the union” in front of his mirror regularly now. He carries that thinking with him and tells us “I will not be restrained from undertaking my constitutional role of calling the government of the day to account.” Poor little fellow forgets that there are limitations and while the skirts of parliamentary privilege are a sensible length the rules are different outside the house.
    In the real world he is just another John Doe and the Hagaman’s rights along with a hard built reputation have been challenged by his false and defamatory remarks.

  • Woody

    Oh the joy, as recently as yesterday spraying at John Key to apologize for stating a provable fact – in Parliament no less – then having this served up to him today. Priceless.

  • wilson

    What an idiot little is. Time and time again he comes out all guns blazing. Crisis this, crisis that. This is bad. They are all crooks. Covering for your rich Mates. And it aways turns out not to be the case. Hope he is never in a position were he had a problem with a world leader. If he had just come out and said. “This might need to be looked in to, just to make sure everything is cool. But no. RICH MATES BLAH BLAH. STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN. BRIBE TO GET CONTRACT. Still waiting for my golf handicap to be declared a crisis.

    • EpochNZ

      From memory, he has been given the go ahead from the Labour Caucus to “Shoot from the Hip” on issues such as this, which is a brilliant strategy when youve actually got the smarts….and nothing so far has convinced me that Andrew Little possesses the skillset to carry it off.

  • OneTrack

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  • Kopua Cowboy

    This is all John Keys fault, he is just trying to distract us from his dodgy Panama dealings! #youcantfoolme #needmoretinfoil

  • one for the road

    Ross Ardern Should follow suit and ask for an apology for the inference and use of his name in all this…. That would really put the cat amongst the pigeons.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Little will turn up before the weeks up, with his tail between his legs, and offer a limp apology. Well if he has any sense he will.

    • Sid_Holland

      Well he hasn’t demonstrated any to date.

  • zotaccore

    The Hagaman’s are being extremely generous in giving Little a chance to man up. Will he take it? Probably, because he is already polling down to be the worst Labour leader in the history of the party. If he ends up in court and found guilty…. good night nurse. He’s high maintenance in terms of being a leader and the poor sods behind him are out of energy trying to carry him.

  • RockinBob625

    I don’t see an apology on the horizon, and it is all going to come down to semantics. “Stinks to high heaven” – is that defaming in a legal sense? What are ALL the exact words of his statement?

    Then again, from the Hagaman’s position, all the money & time spent battling them is less time & money Labour have to fight an election with. They are defending their honour (good on them!), however it can be seen to be very Machiavellian and will likely be painted as so by the Angry One.

  • Joe Burns

    It should be a privilege to be elected into Parliament and work hard for the people of New Zealand,

    When was HE elected to parliament? As I understand it, he just made it off “The List”

    • stephen2d

      After special votes for counted in only, by the skin of his teeth!

    • Aucky

      Little lost to Jonathan Young by almost 10000 votes and Labour lost the party vote by 13000 votes. An outstanding result in his own home town and a former Labour seat. Two time loser.

  • Bryan

    well lets go and get the popcorn this is going to be an interesting weekend

  • Curly1952

    Mrs Hagaman everything you say I agree with except your quote -“It should be a privilege to be elected into Parliament and work hard for the people of New Zealand”. Little was NOT elected to Parliament, he got in there, only just, on the shirt tails of other losers.

  • haysel

    The guy is a tool.