Last month Little called on the Auditor-General to investigate Scenic Hotel Group being awarded a management contract at the Matavai Resort.
Calling on the Auditor-General to investigate was fine. In fact I’ve said they should investigate also.
But his comments that the tender “stunk to high heaven” were very unwise, and if it does go to court he could face a real problem.
The tests for defamation include:
- Did the statement harm the reputation of the person?
- Is it true?
- Is there malice?
- Is there qualified or absolute privilege?
It seems to be there is no doubt it harmed the reputation of the Hagamans. And I doubt there is any evidence at all that it is true that there was any wrongdoing or improper influence (unless you believe the father of a Labour MP is part of a conspiracy to raise money for National). So it may come down to qualified privilege and fair opinion.
What would be fascinating if it goes to trial, if if the trustees would be asked to testify, and to hear the testimony of Ross Ardern as to the statement by Little that the process of the board he appoints “stunk to high heaven”