Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Good result

Nice - it turns out at least some people on the Hagaman defamation trial jury know what an opposition politician's job is.  Nice also that this result means the Hagamans, not the guy doing his job, are likely to end up saddled with costs.  The only dark spot is that the jury left room for further court action on one of the claims - for vindictive rich people, that's an invitation to pursue the vendetta.  Hopefully the definitely-not-defamed Lani Hagaman will prove reluctant to throw good money after bad.

Nevertheless, although the result is a good one, the case itself should never have had a chance from the start, and the fact that it did have a chance, and a good one apparently, means the government needs to do a lot more to protect freedom of speech in this country. The current ability of wealthy people to make others' lives a misery just for speaking the truth ought to be a source of shame to our lawmakers - maybe now that Little's felt the sharp end of our lack of protections for free speech he'll feel inclined to do something about it.

12 comments:

Psycho Milt said...

And just let me add to the above, how much I enjoyed the wailing and gnashing of teeth over at Kiwiblog after this news came out. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Kiwiblog......suddenly everyone has a law degree, just like most of the posters here.

Lord Egbut

Johno said...

So it's "happy times" when a politician can smear others under extended privilege?

Will it be "happy times" when this shoe is on the other foot and some right wing politician smears a leftie?

Is it "happy times" that Little has been found guilty of defaming Earl Hagarman?

Lefties really are a nasty, vindictive bunch.

Ghost of Greenwood said...

Being dragged thru the courts by people with the financial resources to sustain such prolonged litigation, guilty or not, the very process is part of the punishment.

The Hagaman's just really should've let it slide, but the opportunity for the Nats to drain Labour's coffers by proxy in election year was too awesome to resist, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is an alternative reality.

The Veteran said...

Not sure it has ended yet but in hindsight (easy) the Hagaman's should have accepted Little's $100k offer to settle out of court.

Psycho Milt said...

So it's "happy times" when a politician can smear others under extended privilege?

Depends what you mean by "smear." If you mean like when the PM dismisses questions about a report with the smear that the reporter is just a conspiracy theorist, a la John Key or Bill English, it's annoying but the law shouldn't stop them doing it. However, you apparently mean when an opposition MP answers questions about incidents that raise a suspicion of corrupt practiceby the government - that situation absolutely has to be protected by law, and the fact that it currently isn't properly protected needs looking at.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day all a man has that lasts is his reputation, his good name so to speak. Most people put up with insult because they have no option, its trivial and they are not of a profile that real harm can be done but I have an aversion to politicians like Little bagging people effectively because they are not of his camp. Good manners used to be a virtue but I guess I'm old fashioned.

Personally I'd have liked Little to learn a lesson about watching his mouth but that's unlikely. This opens a door for further rudeness from ill disciplined people in positions of power and I think that's unfortunate.

3:16

Psycho Milt said...

Little pointed out government activity that looked well dodgy and called for it to be investigated. That's his job. If the Hagamans didn't like getting caught up in that, all I can recommend is not handing big dosh to Nat bagmen while also bidding for contracts that involve government funding - it can become embarrassing if you then get the contract. Bottom line is that freedom of speech needs proper protection and opposition politicians have to be able to call the government to account. And anyone trying to undercut those things needs to be smacked down sharpish.

David said...

Cute Milt. Little had the opportunity to refer the matter to the Auditor General and did so. Not satisfied with allowing that process to track through, he could not let go of the chance to sneer and denigrate someone who had been clever enough in a business sense, to become successful. Oh how that was a rich target environment. Rich donor, government contract it just must have been corrupt he said. Talk about the envy of the cloth cap brigade, we can't have success and people generating personal wealth now can we.
It call it cheap and ignorant and there are elements of your comments Milt, that parallel Little's twisted mentality.

gravedodger said...

At least Mr Little does not have his reputation at stake, it is not a factor.

Psycho Milt said...

...he could not let go of the chance to sneer and denigrate someone who had been clever enough in a business sense, to become successful.

That's a pretty odd description of Murray McCully. His success came via party politics, not business.