Apology too late from Little

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little will face defamation proceedings after the founders of a hotel chain rejected a late apology over accusations regarding a Niue resort deal.

Little has apologised unreservedly for his comments, after the deal was cleared by the Auditor General last year, and says it is “unfortunate” the case is still heading to court.

The trouble is he refused to do an unreserved apology for over a year and then only did it the week before the trial is due to start.

“Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements.

“I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. I have also offered to make a substantial contribution towards the Hagamans’ costs; an amount I am advised, was greater than would likely have been awarded by the court.”

A substantial contribution suggests less than 100%. So after he has refused to apologise and they have spent $200,000 on legal fees, he then offers to pay a portion of those costs.

However, Little said his offers had been rejected, meaning the case would now head to court.

“That is unfortunate. I strongly believe everybody’s time, not least the court’s, could be better used.”

If he had apologised a year ago, it would not be going to court. The last minute offer suggests he is worried he will lose.

His criticism was aimed at the actions of the Government, and “intended to reflect no impropriety on the part of Mr Hagaman”.

That may not have been the intention, but his words were inflammatory. He said the decision stinks to high heaven. That strongly implied corrupt behaviour.

The Standard declared this to be a vexatious lawsuit that will be laughed out of court. The fact Little has now offered to settle suggests otherwise.

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