There goes Labour’s war chest in an election year

Labour are going to be in a blind panic now.

They have no money to fight the Mt Roskill by-election and now their idiot leader has gotten himself served for defamation.

Labour leader Andrew Little has now been served with defamation proceedings by National party donors and hoteliers Earl and Lani Hagaman.

The Hagamans confirmed in a statement they had now commenced defamation proceedings against Mr Little in the High Court and they had been served on Mr Little.

The defamation suit relates to comments Mr Little made about a management contract Mr Hagaman’s company, Scenic Hotel, was awarded to manage the Matavai Resort on Niue. That was awarded a few weeks after Mr Hagaman donated $101,000 to the National Party during the 2014 campaign.

The Hagamans gave Mr Little a deadline to retract his comments and apologise last month, but Mr Little refused.

“As we said earlier, the reasons we’re taking defamation action have been widely reported in the media and I won’t be repeating his allegations that Earl and I find hurtful, highly offensive and totally false.

We will now clear our names in court”, Lani Hagaman said. ?

The statement said they would not comment further because the case was before the High Court.

On April 18, Labour had called for the Auditor General to look into Scenic Hotels Group’s contract to manage the Matavai resort and questioned the timing of the donation. At the time, Lani Hagaman strongly denied any link between the two.

“If Mr Little had taken the time to get to know us he would have found out that neither Earl nor I come from power or privilege, nor upbringings that cultivated expectation of favours.”

Foreign Minister Murray McCully also dismissed any suggestion of a link as “utterly baseless”.

A spokesman for Mr Little confirmed Mr Little had been advised the Hagamans had filed proceedings and had agreed to service via his solicitor. He said Mr Little has not used any Parliamentary funding to cover his legal costs.

How much does an apology cost? Lost pride and some embarrassment, but I can assure you that defending a defamation action isn’t cheap. Little is on the hook for probably around $200,000 minimum just to defend it and then if he loses he will cop whatever penalties there are.

If he thinks that his caucus are going to stump up for it, or tolerate the leader’s budget being used, then he has another think coming.

Andrew Little must be dead-set stupid for, firstly, saying what he said and, secondly, not backing down when given the opportunity. Unless he can support his comments with any evidence – and he basically accused the Hagamans of corruption – then he is trouble. We know he has no evidence because he has referred it to the Auditor-General for investigation. When that comes back giving the deal a clean bill of health then he is in real trouble, and then when Jacinda Ardern’s father has to give evidence it will give him even more.

He’s dug a ditch, but it might turn out to be his political grave.


– NZ Herald