Craig claims $3,000 a month copyright fee for romantic poem!

November 25th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Colin Craig appears to have claimed ownership of a poem allegedly written for his former press secretary, Rachel MacGregor.

WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater posted the poem, Two of Me, on his site in July – the day Craig stepped down as leader from the Conservative Party.

In an email to the blogger, seen by media, Craig claimed a “copyright dispute”.

He allegedly wrote that he had withdrawn a previous offer and wanted $3000 per month for the use of his work and a “clear breach of copyright”.

Part of the poem reads: “There is only one of me it’s true, but I wish this were not the case, because I wish that I could have you.”

This just gets more bizarre.

Craig not standing for leader – for now

November 17th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Colin Craig will not be seeking re-election as leader of the Conservative Party he founded, saying it would be “unreasonable” while there was an open police file against his name. 

But should his legal battles be cleared before the 2017 election, he would “absolutely” seek a position on the party’s list. 

Newly-elected Conservative Party board chair Leighton Baker said the party and Craig had agreed he would not go on as leader.

But there was “no hurry” to appoint a new one, as the new board looked to settle in and rebuild its membership firs

That could suggest that they will keep the role vacant until such time as Craig is cleared, if he is cleared.

He expected his legal battles would be cleared up before the next election however, and he would seek a place on the party’s list. 

“These things are a little bit difficult to be absolute on the timeframe.

“But as soon as I reach that point I would be contacting the party and saying ‘look, I’ve got all clear, I’m happy I’ve cleared it away’ – obviously the party is going to have to be happy with that but my feeling is I’d definitely put my name back in the ring,” Craig said. 

“I mean I support the party, I’m happy to stand and I got a fair few people to vote for me.”

I have to say I find it hard to see how the Conservatives can make 5% after all the damage from the infighting. But time will tell.

Colin Craig is Mr X!

November 8th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has been outed as a foul-mouthed “Mr X” who posed as a party whistleblower.

The anonymous “whistleblower” features in a booklet distributed to mailboxes in July, in which Craig claims he was the victim of a political conspiracy.

Craig has now admitted he was Mr X, who was quoted in the booklet as describing Craig as “freakish under pressure” and said he had a chance of a comeback.

“A lot of expletives have been deleted from this dialogue,” the interview begins.

Craig said he didn’t see any problems with talking about himself in the third person and framing it as an anonymous whistleblower.

It was a common literary tool to get a message out to readers, he said.

You couldn’t make this up.

You interview yourself for a brochure you put out, pretending to be an anonymous third party commentator – on yourself. And then you send it to half the households in New Zealand.

Interview with Mr X, as published in the booklet:

Interviewer: Colin Craig is not in office

Mr X: Well no but he nearly … got there last time. He gets votes and the media love him so that qualifies him to be a target.

Interviewer: Craig says he has been getting pretty positive feedback from supporters.

Mr X: Yeah well maybe he says that but … don’t forget they are mostly a bunch of bigots, they will dump him, just wait and see. Most media have already written him and the party off.”

Interviewer: So there is no way back for Craig after this?

Mr X: No chance … well OK there is a chance but only because he is freakish under pressure and he seems to be largely unphased (sic) by this whole thing.”

I really don’t know how he ever thought this was a good idea.

The Craig over-spending allegations

August 11th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Colin Craig has been accused of election over-spending by a former Conservative Party board member.

Craig denies the allegations.

At a press conference on Monday, John Stringer alleged Craig had left more than $7000 of campaign spending off his electoral return.

The amount would have put Craig over the permitted spending cap, Stringer claims. …

According to Stringer, the group estimated Craig had under-reported his spending by about $7000.

Adding Craig’s unreported spending would put him $2000 over the election expenses spending cap of $25,700 including GST, for all parties, Stringer claimed.

There may or may not be substance to these claims. They should be investigated, but the key issues are three-fold:

  • Were these expenses declared either on the electorate or party expense return?
  • If they were declared on the party return, were they a Vote Conservative expense rather than a Vote Colin Craig in East Coast Bays expense?
  • Were they apportioned to another electorate?

Candidates are allowed to apportion some of their local costs to the party vote campaign. If a billboard promotes both yourself and the party, then you tend to split the cost 50/50.

It gets slightly more complicated if the candidate is the party leader. Their photo is on the party vote billboards also. However I’m sure a party vote billboard of John Key is not treated as an expense for Helensville even if it located in Helensville.

Basically it will come down to what was actually said on the advertising material Stringer is highlighting, whether it was included in the party vote return or electorate returns, and if doing so was correct.

Auckland Mayoral candidates on the big issues

August 10th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald asked some questions of potential Auckland mayoral candidates. The more important answers (my summaries) are:

Would you cap the rates rise?

  • Phil Goff – no
  • Michael Barnett – no
  • Colin Craig – yes to inflation, and referendum for anything beyond that
  • Cameron Brewer – yes 2.5%
  • John Palino – yes to inflation

What projects would you cut?

  • Phil Goff – none, need a briefing
  • Michael Barnett – none, just prioritise
  • Colin Craig – drop rail loop
  • Cameron Brewer – low quality bureaucratic programmes
  • John Palino – city rail link

Priority for transport – roads or public transport?

  • Phil Goff – public transport
  • Michael Barnett – need a mix
  • Colin Craig – roads and busways
  • Cameron Brewer – too much focus on rail used by only 1.6% of communters
  • John Palino – not clear

Hide on Craig’s pamphlet

August 9th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

I already thought Colin Craig the oddest thing in New Zealand politics but I have just received a pamphlet in my letterbox that makes him appear even odder. On the front is a picture of a haunted, hunted Craig, and it is titled Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas.

I flicked it open to see an image of a man’s hand on a woman’s knee and in bold: “Craig has only ever had one sexual relationship which is with his wife [Helen] of over 23 years.” …

There’s no author. Craig is spoken about in the third person and he and his wife have “authorised” the pamphlet but “do not agree with every statement made nor endorse all viewpoints”. I am hoping they do agree on the statement of fidelity.

The pamphlet comments on allegations made by blogger Whaleoil and others, including Conservative Party board members. There is quite a cast of characters and some deep intrigue. I got a little lost in it and am left wondering why I needed to know all this. Or why I should care.

The essence is the claim there has been a “campaign of lies” against Craig. Some of the “lies” are repeated and responded to. Nothing is proved either way.

We are told of lies 4, 7 and 14, but I am left wondering about the others. I am thinking that 1, 2 and 3 must be juicy.

I thought I was special but my neighbours also got the pamphlet.

It’s odd to complain about lies being told about you then repeat them to every household in my neighbourhood and, supposedly, the country.

Stranger is to suggest, through numbering the lies, that there are more — and to provide references to where they may be found.

Like Rodney, I find this very strange. I’ve never ever before known someone who claims something defamatory was said about them, to publish a pamphlet about the alleged lies, and mail it to what appears to be every household in New Zealand.

The Craig booklet

July 29th, 2015 at 5:00 pm by David Farrar

The Craig dossier is on Scribd, put there by Ben Ross. [link removed as dossier is allegedly defamatory]

The Herald reports on some responses:

Mr Slater said he first heard about the defamation claim this afternoon, adding he had not been served court papers.

He said he had two words for Mr Craig: “Bring it.”

Mr Slater said he had “not one single concern” about Mr Craig’s legal action because he was capable of funding his defence and he had evidence for everything he published about Mr Craig on his website.

“New Zealand can find out once and for all what a ratbag Colin Craig is,” he said.

Mr Slater said if someone was going to stand for Parliament, it was important that the public knew about their background, especially if it contrasted with their Christian values.

Asked about Mr Craig’s allegations of “dirty politics”, Mr Slater said: “A: So what? B: Politics is dirty full-stop and if he doesn’t like it then perhaps he shouldn’t play away.”

Mr Stringer, a former Conservative Party board member and candidate who is based in Christchurch, said this afternoon that he stood by everything he had said about Mr Craig.

He said he had never met Slater or Williams, though he had corresponded with Slater since Mr Craig resigned.

“There is no dirty politics campaign against Colin Craig,” he said. “I’ve certainly not been part of one.”

Craig sues

July 29th, 2015 at 2:37 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Colin Craig is seeking compensation for alleged defamatory comments made by the “Dirty Politics Brigade”.

He’s making cases against Jordan Williams, John Stringer and Cameron Slater in the order of $300,000, $600,000 and $650,000 respectively.

He made the announcement at a press conference in Auckland this afternoon.

He will also be releasing a booklet that outlines the “campaign of defamatory lies” he claims was purposely launched to undermine him.

If this goes to trial, discovery could be very interesting.

Still fighting over a dead party

July 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The public stoush between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and board member John Stringer has taken a new twist, with Stringer resigning and calling for Craig to start his own party.

Stringer confirmed on Sunday that he had thrown in the towel after formally resigning to party secretary Nathaniel Heslop on Thursday. …

“I think the best outcome is that Colin goes and sets up his own Colin Craig Conservative party and he takes whatever Conservative Party members want to go with him,” Stringer said.

“The more sensible, moderate conservatives who have got political acumen will continue with the Conservative Party and rebuild it.”

Craig wasn’t ruling out a return as leader but said any role he had would be possible only if Stringer was out of the picture.

“I can’t see a possibility where he and I are involved in the leadership of the party together. The actions of Mr Stringer have made that an impossibility.”

The future of the leadership and board was now a matter for the party membership, of which Craig said he was still a part.

“I will be part of the process of electing the new board, just like any other party member.”

He said Stringer’s resignation was a good move and meant the party could get on with the process of electing a new board and leader without any clouds hanging over them.

Stringer said Craig had been an “impediment” to some people joining the party and, if all ties were cut with the former leader completely, then new members and donors would arise.

He said senior leaders in the party had asked him to step up as leader and he had not ruled out doing so.

“I haven’t publicly endorsed that, but I haven’t ruled it out either. It’s never been my motivation.

“I want to only consider the leadership options, of which there are several, once we’re outside the Colin Craig nonsense …”

Stringer wouldn’t confirm who had backed him for the leadership, or who the other “prominent New Zealanders” were that were being considered.

So both Stringer and Craig want to be leader. I don’t think they realise how much damage the fight has caused to the Conservatve brand. Before this happened, I would have given them a reasonable chance of making 5% next time. Now I think they would struggle to get even 2%.

The real victor from this is Winston and NZ First, who compete in much the same ideological space.

Craig admits to inappropriate behaviour

June 22nd, 2015 at 5:13 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Colin Craig has admitted that some of his interactions with former press secretary Rachael MacGregor were “inappropriate”, but rejects accusations of sexual harassment.

Mr Craig also said today that he had forgiven a $20,000 loan to Ms MacGregor, but that this was unrelated to her controversial resignation from the party immediately before the election.

Mr Craig made the comments at a press conference alongside his wife Helen, who said she backed her husband.

Whenever a politician has a press conference involving himself and other women, I feel so sorry for the wife who not just has to deal with it, but then becomes a prop at a press conference.

Mr Craig said that in hindsight, some of his and Ms MacGregor’s actions may have been “inappropriate”. But he strongly rejected claims that he had sexually harassed the former staff member.

Mr Craig would not confirm whether he had penned a poem sent to Ms Macgregor, saying he would not go into any detail about his actions.

Mr Craig confirmed he had agreed to pay Ms MacGregor $16,000 for work she had done for the party, following her surprise resignation two days before the September election.

He also agreed to lend her $20,000 to cover outstanding credit card bills.

When Ms MacGregor was unable to pay this money back, he and his wife agreed to forgive the loan.

Mr Craig said this payment had nothing to do with allegations of inappropriate conduct between him and his former press secretary.

The question is would you lend $20,000 and write it off to any other former staffer?

It would be highly surprising to see Craig resume the leadership of the Conservatives after this. Also be surprising to see them remain a viable force – however they do have at least one other wealthy donor who can keep them alive. However they need a leader who can front a national campaign, and there seems no one apparent.

UPDATE: Rachel McGregor has put out a statement, which according to media on Twitter says:

  • Colin Craig’s breached a confidentiality agreement reached in mediation with the Human Rights Commission.
  • She’s checked with her lawyer, and is still bound by it herself. “I am therefore unable to correct the clear factual inaccuracies”.
  • MacGregor says she wants to correct Craig’s “factual inaccuracies”, but wants an assurance he won’t take legal action against her.
  • MacGregor says she’s also happy to brief Conservative Party board on what happened, but again, needs permission from Colin Craig
  • MacGregor says until she gets confidentiality agreement lifted, she’s got no further comment.

If I were Colin Craig, I’d not try to regain the Conservative Party leadership. There is no way he will come out this well.

The Conservative schism

June 20th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A furious faction on the Conservative Party board is moving to block Colin Craig’s return to the leadership after he ignored an ultimatum to inform them of sexual harassment allegations.

Craig resigned as leader at a press conference on Friday and said he would “facilitate a review” of the leadership.

It has now emerged he is at the centre of allegations of sexual harassment, manifested in love poems and texts reported on right-wing blog WhaleOil

No one can say Whale only targets politicians on the left!

Some board members are understood to be furious that Craig left room during his press conference for a possible return as leader. They are also angry Craig postponed a board meeting, where they expected his leadership to be put to the vote, after many of them flew to Auckland for it.

A board member, who did not want to be named, said the board was “outraged”.

“Colin arbitrarily postponed our board meeting, which he doesn’t have the right to do. [The press conference] is the first we heard of that.


The board members leaking to the media won’t be helping things. Voters hate disunity, and even if they force Colin Craig out, they will find the way it is being done will scare voters off.

The best coup is quick and quiet. Not done through the media.

It is difficult to see how Craig can continue as leader, if the sexual harassment allegations are correct.  They would not be fatal for all politicians, but for a party leader than campaigns on family values, they are more difficult.

The Colin Craig Conservative coup

June 19th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Conservative Party board members are reportedly planning to roll leader Colin Craig, with at least three asking Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) chief executive Garth McVicar to take the job in the past week, it’s understood. 

It’s been speculated Craig will be walking into a coup when the board meets tomorrow, with members growing increasingly annoyed at the reputation Craig was imprinting on the party.

It is definitely on. I’ve had that confirmed from Conservative sources.

He also said he would not have done an interview in a sauna, similar to the one Craig recently appeared in on TV3’s Newsworthy. 

“I didn’t see that, [board members] sent me a link to see what was going on, but it’s not something I would do. I’ll just leave it at that.” 

I actually thought the sauna interview was a positive. It showed Craig could take the mickey, and it makes it hard for opponents of the Conservatives to portray him as homophobic when he is showering with David Farrier after a sauna 🙂

So it would be a pity if some light hearted television is the reason for this. I think issues around Rachel McGregor’s resignation are a factor.

Waikato businessman Laurence Day said he would continue to donate to the party as long as it stood for binding referendums.

“I don’t really know what’s going down at the board meeting. I’m still a great believer in the cause of the party, which is binding referendums.

“As far as I’m concerned the party is bigger than any person.” 

“I’d still support the party, because I support the cause.” He said he would “consider his options” over whether he would try to make up for some of the funding the party would lose if Craig left.

Day gave $1.35 million to them last year. In the past it was unthinkable they could have a leader other than Craig, as he funded them entirely. But now they have other funding sources.

Farrier and Craig in a sauna

June 11th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Go to 3 News for a hilarious video of Colin Craig being interviewed in a sauna by David Farrier.

Craig is hardly sweating at all, while Farrier is turning into a waterfall. Farrier starts stripping off while interviewing. Colin Craig is a great sport going along, and even shares a post sauna shower with Farrier.

I wonder who will be the next sauna interview?

Conservatives’ MacGregor quits two days before election

September 18th, 2014 at 9:43 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZb reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and his press secretary of two years have parted ways – just two days out from the election.

Rachel MacGregor has told Newstalk ZB she’s left the party as of this morning. …

“It’s really difficult to read too much into it given that there’s simply a very upset press secretary without giving any reasons why she resigned, so it’s really out there. She’s taking public relations advice now, and I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this story.”

It is an extraordinary time to quit, especially to do so publicly.

Herald on Craig

July 29th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

National Party election strategists have made a fateful call against an accommodation with the Conservative Party of Colin Craig. On current polling, the Conservatives have about 2 per cent of the vote nationwide, enough to bring possibly three members into Parliament if one of them was to win an electorate. Now National’s decision not to hand them an electorate means they could win up to 4.9 per cent and all of those votes would not count towards returning National to office.

Not quite. If a party gets 4.9% of the vote, then it is wasted vote and the practical effect is for half of that vote to go to National.

John Key and his team would have weighed up the fact that even one seat won by a potential ally can make all the difference to an MMP election result. If Act had not won Epsom at the last election, the government would have been chosen by New Zealand First, the Maori Party and Peter Dunne, who could all have gone with Labour. The Conservatives, like Act, have nowhere else to go.

Again not quite. Peter Dunne had ruled Labour out prior to the election. But it is correct that without Epsom, the Maori Party or NZ First would have had the balance of power.

Spurned by National yesterday, Mr Craig raised the possibility of a post-election deal with Labour but it is not credible. His social conservatism is the polar opposite of Labour’s beliefs on just about every issue. 

And Labour has ruled him out.

National must have calculated, probably rightly, that to make room for Mr Craig in East Coast Bays would have cost National more votes than his support might be worth. 

That’s my view.

Looking to the long term, National needs the Conservatives to do well without its help. It needs another party on the right with a solid, reliable voting base, much as the Greens have established on the left. Act has failed to find such a base and has come to depend on National’s concession of Epsom. NZ First is a right of centre party but it is based on its leader’s personal appeal and will not survive him.

In an ideal world there would be both a classical liberal party and a conservative party in Parliament.

Armstrong on why he thinks Peters will not run for East Coast Bays

July 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

As captivating and entertaining as such a contest would have been, Winston Peters is unlikely to throw himself feline-like into the pigeon loft and stand in Murray McCully’s East Coast Bays seat.

The idea of putting himself up as the New Zealand First candidate initially seemed like a very cunning plan to disrupt the political footsie being played by Colin Craig’s Conservatives and the National Party in order for the former to get a toehold in Parliament and the latter to remain in power.

But the warning bells ought to have been ringing in the New Zealand First camp after Christine Rankin, the Conservative Party’s chief executive, urged Peters to “bring it on”.

It would give the Conservatives a lot of publicity, and allow them to position Craig as the natural successor to Peters.

Peters is not in the business of giving rivals who are after the same votes as him the means to raise their profile. When it comes to winning the seat, Peters is (for once) handicapped by his refusal to reveal his post-election intentions. East Coast Bays is one of National’s safest seats. Around two-thirds of both the electorate vote and party vote in the seat went to National in 2011.

Peters would need a big chunk of the National vote to shift his way. But why would National voters back him and risk seeing him install a Labour-led government?

All Craig would need to say is “Vote Peters. Get Labour”. 

Yeah I can’t see East Coast Bays voters voting for Peters if it means he may make David Cunliffe Prime Minister, and support a Labour-Green-Mana Government.

Also Peters hates losing electorate contests. He has never got over being beaten by Clarkson and then Bridges. Losing to Craig would be an unendurable burden for him.

Craig making it easy for National to say no deal

June 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has announced he would contest the September 20 election in the East Coast Bays electorate, a National stronghold held by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully for the past 20 years.

Craig conceded at yesterday’s campaign launch, that he would lose if National did not step aside.

But he’s not prepared to accept a deal half-cooked, saying he would be grateful if National stepped aside completely, but was opposed to a situation where McCully ran but only for the party vote.

I think that makes it easy for National.

It’s one thing to stand a candidate, but to say you are comfortable with voters supporting a potential coalition partner, as that leaves the decision in the hand of the local voters.

It is quite another thing to not stand a candidate, and effectively force the decision on the electorate. It is also very unpopular with the local members.

If Colin Craig is saying he doesn’t want an “endorsement”, but a full withdrawal, then National can more easily say, “No”.

Craig standing in East Coast Bays

June 22nd, 2014 at 3:16 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig will contest the East Coast Bays seat at the election, pitting him against Foreign Minister Murray McCully – unless a deal is done.

Today’s announcement came at the party’s campaign launch, which took place at Rangitoto College’s auditorium – on the edge of the East Coast Bays and North Shore electorates.

The decision comes as no surprise after recent rumours.

During the week, Craig said he expected a deal with National to give him a free run at a seat in September’s election but that has not yet been confirmed by Prime Minister John Key.

Craig expected the Conservative Party, currently polling about 1.5 per cent and well below the threshold for seats in Parliament, would be thrown a lifeline: “I think National will stand aside somewhere.”

In 2011, Craig was defeated by National backbencher Mark Mitchell in Rodney by more than 8000 votes.

I think whether National does a deal will come down to two fairly simple things.

  1. Do they need to do one? If the answer is no, then they won’t. But you can in theory lose the election eve if you’re on say 48% and Labour is on 25% if the Greens, Winston and Kim Dotcom team up.
  2. Are the Consrvatives likely to win enough seats to make it worthwhile to do.

The party also listed four key issues it would push: All referendums to be binding, tougher penalties for criminals, no more separate Maori seats and a flat tax after the first $20,000 would be tax free.

How many of those they would get, will depend on how many votes they get. The more votes you get, the more of your agenda you can get through.

Metro interviews Colin Craig

March 27th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Steve Braunias at Metro interviews Colin Craig. Some interesting aspects:

  • Recently lost 30 kgs
  • Ran an accountancy firm when he was 23
  • Daughter is home schooled
  • Met his wife in the Auckland University quad
  • Shops for specials at Pak N Save and $2 shop
  • As a kid negotiated with his father for pocket money to be increased from $1 to $1.50 a week
  • Wrote poetry at school
  • Likes scifi and fantasy books such as Prince of Thorns
  • Once took part in the Diplomacy (board game) world championships

Defamation as a fundraiser

March 8th, 2014 at 2:19 pm by David Farrar

After the Greens used the Craig v Norman defamation case as a fundraiser (I suspect in reality Norman’s costs will be paid for out of their parliamentary budget), Colin Craig has done the same – but with more success.

The Herald reported:

A mock fundraising campaign launched by Conservatives leader Colin Craig to cover his defamation case against Greens co-leader Russel Norman has collected $50,000 in less than a day.

Mr Craig began asking party members for donations today to mimic a campaign by Dr Norman, who was seeking up to $75,000 to cover his legal defence.

He said that it started as a joke among members, but it had “taken on a life of its own”.

The account had already collected around $50,000 including a one-off donation of more than $25,000.

Mr Craig said: “It’s not a case of needing the money. These were people who wanted to participate.”

The party sought donations in the form of pledges which would be collected once the money was required. But many people had paid the money up-front.

Mr Craig said that if the defamation claim went ahead and he won costs, he would ask donors if they wanted their money back. If they did not, he would use the money to fund the party’s election campaign.

This could become a new modern fundraiser for political parties – sue each other for defamation and both sides an then fundraise from it!

The winners? Well, the lawyers of course!

Craig proceeds with defamation suit against Norman

March 4th, 2014 at 10:39 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Conservatives’ leader Colin Craig hopes to fast-track a defamation claim against Greens co-leader Russel Norman so a court hearing can be held before this year’s election.

Mr Craig had given Dr Norman a deadline to apologise over comments he made in a speech at the Big Gay Out, but Dr Norman refused to do so.

The Conservatives’ leader today said his defamation claim against Dr Norman would be split into two stages in the hope of fast-tracking a court hearing.

“After extensive discussion and advice from my legal team, I’ve decided to proceed immediately against [Dr] Norman regarding his claims about the place of women.”

I think this is unwise. In defamation cases both sides tend to lose out. Craig looks thin-skinned by resorting to defamation. Norman i associated with personal attacks that go against the Green principles. It’s a lose lose.

Conservatives’ leader Colin Craig hopes to fast-track a defamation claim against Greens co-leader Russel Norman so a court hearing can be held before this year’s election.

Mr Craig had given Dr Norman a deadline to apologise over comments he made in a speech at the Big Gay Out, but Dr Norman refused to do so.

The Conservatives’ leader today said his defamation claim against Dr Norman would be split into two stages in the hope of fast-tracking a court hearing.

“After extensive discussion and advice from my legal team, I’ve decided to proceed immediately against [Dr] Norman regarding his claims about the place of women.”

By narrowing the claim, the job is harder for Norman. He has to defend it on the basis that Craig has expressed views along the lines of women should be in the kitchen.

As I understand it, Craig is not suing for damages, just a declaration that Norman defamed him (and costs). If Craig wins he will have seriously damaged Norman and the Greens (how do you have a co-leader who has been found to be a liar by a court) but he will also have damaged himself by looking litigious. If he loses, then it is all bad for him.

Mind you Winston has sued several people for defamation, and he still makes 5%!

Craig v Norman

February 18th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has refused to retract his characterisation of Colin Craig’s views on women and homosexuals despite the threat of legal action against him.

Craig, Conservative Party of New Zealand leader, has taken the first steps in defamation action after Norman claimed at Auckland’s Big Gay Out that Craig thought a woman’s place was in the kitchen and a gay man’s was in the closet.

Norman made an almost identical comment in Parliament during his opening speech for the year, but attributed it to the “conservative Right”, rather than Craig.

Craig has instructed his lawyers to take legal action and told Fairfax Media that the Green MP should apologise and retract his comments as “these are not things I think”.

“It is a defamatory thing and I would consider that somebody who thinks those sorts of things would have a lower standing in the eyes of the public … he’s crossed the line,” Craig said.

Norman’s characterisation of his views were offensive and “just wrong”.

“We … see them as defamatory, sexist, derogatory and offensive, so that pretty much sums up my view of them.” 

Norman today refused to resile from his comments, however, saying he found Craig’s comments “offensive”.

This doesn’t reflect well on either man. Russel Norman is the co-leader of the Green Party that claims a core value is “Engage respectfully, without personal attacks“. Norman tramples over that Green value all the time.

However Craig looks thin skinned for again threatening defamation. It may appeal to his support base which don’t like the Greens, but will make the media more hostile towards him as they don’t like politicians who threaten defamation. Also the comments Norman made, while false (as far as I know), are not worse than a lot of political rhetoric.

However there is one aspect to this, which the media have not picked up on. If you look at the letter Craig sent Norman, he is not threatening to sue Norman for damages. He refers to getting a declaration that what Norman said was false and defamatory.  That means it is not about trying to financially penalise your opponent – just having a court say that your opponent lied. It would be interesting to see how a court would rule, if it does proceed. Could Norman remain Green Party co-leader if the court ruled he had defamed Craig?

John Armstrong writes that Craig needs to “harden up and quickly”. It is good advice, but he also overlooks that Craig is apparently not seeking damages, just a declaration that the statements were defamatory.

Colin Craig on fluoridation

January 31st, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A Q+A with Colin Craig:

Hi Colin,

Do you support the ending of fluoridation in New Zealand?

If you do support ending fluoridation how would you go about a transparent process where all information from both sides of the debate could be heard fairly and equitably. 

I am referencing the $47k (minimum) spent by the WDHB (taxpayers money) against the $12k provided by Fluoride Free Hamilton (This amount was collected from donations from individual donors). 


Hi Kane and thanks for your questions. My view is as follows;

Water supply and the treatment of town water supplies is managed at a local level. I support councils having referendum on this issue (costs are minimised if information and forms are sent out with rates notices) to determine what the public wants. Information sent to voters should give fair and equal chance for both those for and against to have their say. In this electronic age I suggest council establishing a website to give the same equal opportunity to both sides to present their case.

People who do not have a computer can of course access the council information website at their local public library if they are interested. This approach helps level the playing field when it comes to who has the deeper pockets, as the primary information source is balanced.

Yes my personal view is that water should be delivered to households as chemical free as reasonably possible, while still being safe to drink – i.e. without fluoride. 

I support more awareness of the concerns around fluoridation. When properly informed, I do think many communities will choose non-fluoridation.


I think if communities are properly informed, most will choose fluoridation – and have been recently.

Smart move by Craig

January 13th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he still smacks his children “just like two thirds of New Zealand parents”.

The party is a possible coalition partner with the National Party after this year’s general election.

Mr Craig told RadioLive today he wanted the issue of repealing the anti-smacking law to be “on the table” for future negotiations with National.

Asked if he would start smacking his own children if the law was reversed, Mr Craig said: “I occasionally do it right now”.

“Like two thirds of New Zealand parents I don’t go putting the good raising of a child behind a silly law.

This is a smart move by Craig. By admitting he smacks his own kids, he turns the issue into a more high profile one. If he is really lucky some one will call for him to be arrested and charged, and then that will give him even more publicity.

It isn’t a huge issue for most voters, but the Conservative only need 5%.

He said mostly his discipline consisted of “a flick of a finger on the back of a knuckle”.

“It’s hurts for a moment,” he said.

But the vast majority of discipline he used was not physical, he said.

As it should be.

TVNZ loses BSA case re Colin Craig

December 17th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

TVNZ has been ordered to broadcast an apology to Conservative Party leader Colin Craig over an item it ran on Seven Sharp.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority says an item from April 24 – a short skit “lampooning” Mr Craig over his threat of defamation against a satirical website – was “childish and unfair”.

The BSA says while it recognises the value of satire and free speech, the BSA found that the comments about his personal character and attributes went too far.

It says Mr Craig was given no opportunity to defend himself.

Seven Sharp is meant to be a current affairs programme. You can probably get away with what they did on 7 Days, but not on Seven Sharp.

The key paragraph is:

However, Mr Mulligan’s remarks, “I think Colin Craig is a nutcase; I feel Colin Craig is a doofus; I believe Colin Craig is a smarmy rich prick”, had no bearing on Colin Craig’s political views. These comments offered no constructive comment on the underlying issues, but were simply personal abuse masquerading as satire. The comments, combined with Ms Mau’s introductory statement that “most of us would like to have a go at Colin Craig”, the concluding remarks from Ms Mau and Mr Boyed about Colin Craig lacking a sense of humour, and the laughter from all three presenters, turned the item into a sustained personal attack against Colin Craig that was childish and unfair, in circumstances where he had no chance to defend himself.

Note Colin Craig was not one of the four complainants.