Thursday, June 16, 2016

This will be interesting

So, Earl and Lani Hagaman have filed defamation proceedings against Andrew Little for correlating the contents of their donations to the National Party and their gaining a government contract to manage a hotel in Niue. This will be interesting. Both because it will hopefully give us a precedent protecting such political speech (because really, if you can't publicly connect such facts, what can you do?), but also for what else it might expose.

To point out the obvious, Little now gets discovery. And valid targets of that discovery include all records of any donation to the National Party or associated entities by the Hagamans (and any institution they control), and all records of any communications between them and the National Party or National MPs (including, say, over this). After all, if they're saying that their donation record had nothing to do with the contract, and its all just a terrible-looking coincidence, then clearly Little gets to go looking for evidence to the contrary. And if he finds anything at all, the consequences of that could be rather more dire than simply winning his suit.