Defamation? They’ll need to get in line


Prof Doug Sellman of the University of Otago, Prof Boyd Swinburn of the University of Auckland and anti-smoking activist Shane Bradbock say Slater and Mr Graham have for “some years” been publishing “articles with a negative focus on various public health experts and advocates”.

Much of the pair’s work was revealed in Nicky Hager’s 2014 book Dirty Politics.

“We had hoped things would change, but the various articles and comments remain live on Whale Oil, and Mr Slater has continued to publish further material,” says Prof Swinburn.

“Accordingly, we have decided to bring these proceedings to address what we claim is a campaign of deliberate and sustained defamation.”

The trio say they will be making no further comments until the case has been dealt with by the courts.

The first I heard of this was when I was served the documents. 

I don’t believe any of the Three Troughketeers have a true understanding what they have just started, but I guess they can always withdraw when the full gravity of their mistake sets in. They have not asked for retractions or corrections. They have not asked for a public apology.

For one, this case won’t even get to court until middle or late 2017 at the earliest. That’s just a fact of court scheduling. Mr Colin Craig and I just set down some time to discuss his feelings and his nationwide mailer in March 2017.  The person who kicked all this defamation business off in the first place will get a court date after that.

I fully appreciate the Three Troughketeers don’t like being monitored and criticised when they spend public money. It is clear they only want the oversight of their peers. But in the process of carrying out their taxpayer-funded jobs, they are attacking law-abiding industry and individuals. They are risking employment and careers.

As a result they should expect those who are being damaged and hounded by their government-funded actions to wish to put up their own arguments for balance.

I  am very good at what I do. Nicky Hager wrote a book about it, and I was in the media non-stop for three months while people got to see some of the trade secrets of an effective communicator: someone who takes public announcements and public spending in health and holds them under sunlight for all to see where their tax dollars are going.

I am so good at what I do, there is now a trend where people use the courts to slow me down. A person, an ex-politician and now three advocates of spending the taxpayers’ dollars to damage legally operating companies.

When the person took me to court, it was all very new and concerning. By the time Mr Craig had a go, I’d become quite comfortable with the whole process. I doubt the Three Troughketeers have any idea what they have let themselves in for. Not that I’m going to help them now by warning them.

Sure, I could use another defamation suit like another hole in the head but, now that it is a reality, I might as well enjoy it and turn lemons into lemonade. This has little to do with defamation. This has everything to do with trying to silence me and others from holding people to account publicly for spending public cash. And they don’t like it.

The Three Troughketeers have stated they won’t say another word about it until the case has completed. I won’t make such an unrealistic commitment. And I will continue to monitor and report on their public communications and spending while the case is before the courts. If they were hoping for their legal action to result in silence, they can chalk that up as their first strategic error.


– Newshub



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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.