Lani Hagaman

Too Little, too late for desperate Labour leader

Andrew Little tried a settlement at the last moment in his defamation case.

It was rejected, and rightly so as it wouldn’t even have covered the legal bills of the Hagamans.

Labour leader Andrew Little upped his offer from $26,000 to $100,000 in a last-minute bid to settle the defamation claim against him by hoteliers Earl and Lani Hagaman but Mrs Hagaman rejected it as too little and too late.

Little’s offer was revealed in Mrs Hagaman’s evidence at the High Court in Wellington, during which she read out letters between lawyers for the two.   Read more »

Little’s reputation on the line as the man he allegedly defamed is dying

Andrew Little must feel very sick about now.

He’s about to start the second day of his defamation trial, where the Hagamans are alleging that Andrew Little defamed them by essentially accusing them of corruption.

I am very interested in this case, firstly because Andrew Little elected a trial by jury and also because he is trying on the defence of a qualified privilege.

A defamation trial against Labour leader Andrew Little is about to begin in the Wellington High Court.

The action relates to comments Little made about a management contract Earl Hagaman’s company, Scenic Hotel, was awarded for Matavai Resort on Niue and a donation to the National Party during the 2014 campaign.

Earl and Lani Hagaman have sued Little for defamation and Lani Hagaman will begin her evidence today.   Read more »

Hagaman has a clear run to take Andrew Little for everything he’s got

Andrew Little’s stunt to smear the Hagamans and National with the Auditor-General has blown up in his face.

The Auditor General has found there was nothing unusual about the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the operator of a Niue tourism resort at the centre of a political row over a six figure donation to National.

Auditor General Lyn Provost said from the available information her office had found there was a standard procurement process with reasoned and documented analysis for the selection of Scenic Hotel Group to operate the resort, and for the subsequent investment of New Zealand international development assistance funds in expanding the resort.

The contract was referred to Provost by Labour leader Andrew Little after he questioned the company’s links to National.

Scenic Hotel Group founder Earl Hagaman, and wife Lani, made a donation to the National Party during the 2014 election of $101,000. Scenic Hotel Group. A month later the company won a tender to manage the Matavai resort in Niue, which receives funding from the New Zealand Government.

Little is now being sued for defamation by the Hagaman’s after refusing to apologise and retract a statement that the deal “stunk to high heaven”.   Read more »

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.   Read more »

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”.   Read more »

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.”

Read more »