Little apology, too late?

Andrew Little out this out via Labour Party press release today:

Andrew Little
Leader of the Opposition

MEDIA STATEMENT

24 March 2017

Statement re Earl Hagaman

In June last year, Mr Earl and Mrs Lani Hagaman issued defamation proceedings over media statements I made about the award in September 2014 of a hotel management contract in Niue to the Scenic Hotel Group (in which they were shareholders and directors) followed by a $7 million upgrade.

It was a matter of public record that Mr Hagaman had donated $101,000 to the National Party in that same month. This generated considerable media interest. As Leader of the Opposition, I considered I had an obligation to respond to media questions on the issues which related to government actions. I referred the matter to the Auditor-General because I believed the public was entitled to be reassured. My focus was, and has always been, on holding the Government to account.

Throughout, the Hagamans have vigorously maintained there was no connection between the award of the contract to Scenic and Mr Hagaman’s donation. The Auditor-General did not establish any connection.

In those circumstances, I thought the matter should be resolved. Over the last three months, I have made a serious effort to do that. 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.

My offers of an apology and redress have been rejected and the matter will now have to be resolved in court. That is unfortunate. I strongly believe everybody’s time, not least the Court’s, could be better used.

I want to make it clear that the object of the criticism was the actions of the National government and that I intended to reflect no impropriety on the part of Mr Hagaman. I accept that no connection has been established between the donation and the award of the management contract and the hotel upgrade.

I propose to make no further statement until the proceedings are resolved.

The Hagamans have responded:

HagamanOnLittleApology

He has belatedly apologised, sort of. He makes excuses.

He seems to be blaming Mr Hagaman for not settling, and a week before it is due to go to court plays the ‘wasting court time’ card.

The apology looks more like a political statement than contrition.

This looks very messy for Little.

Background detail at Stuff: Labour leader Andrew Little headed to court over defamation case

Past posts on this:

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27 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  24th March 2017

    Good onya, Earl. The National Party thanks you.

    Question: ‘ Does an apology with excuses become an apology or a media release?’

    Confucius not know.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  24th March 2017

    Little is surprisingly stupid, my family is stacked full of lawyers and they are reasonably super smart at thinking things through, I reckon Little is probably the stupidest lawyer in the country at the moment.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  24th March 2017

      when are your family back from…overseas?

      Reply
      • David

         /  24th March 2017

        Now that Blazer is almost funny and by far the smartest thing you have ever posted here.

        Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  24th March 2017

      He certainly shows poor judgement for a lawyer. All the lawyers I have known are very intelligent, and while some are better lawyers than others, I can’t imagine any of them doing what AL has done. Did he hope that if he ignored it, it would just go away ?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  24th March 2017

        no he was hoping E.H. would ..expire.

        Reply
        • I presume you are speculating or trying to be funny.

          Whatever the reason for leaving it this late to apologise it looks like Little has got himself into a very awkward legal situation. He seems to have admitted he got it wrong so defending it could be tricky.

          Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  24th March 2017

          How do you know ?

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  24th March 2017

      I think you could rephrase that, David. IMO Little is unsurprisingly stupid.

      Reply
  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  24th March 2017

    I imagine that the National Party is wishing the whole thing anywhere.

    He was a fool not to do this before, he’s left it far, far too late.

    Reply
  4. David

     /  24th March 2017

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

    Curiously, this is at odds with Mr Little’s actual actions. A swift and effective apology 10 months ago and this statement would have been believable. A weaselly, lame attempt at an apology on the 11th hour tells a different story.

    Reply
    • He could have and should have dealt with it as soon as it was obvious he had exposed himself.

      Apologising now looks like a legal and/or political manouvre rather than a genuine apology.

      Reply
      • David

         /  24th March 2017

        Publicly apologising for defaming someone without them agreeing to it first is just the stupidest thing, the idiot has pleaded guilty with no deal on the table. I can only guess that as a trade union lawyer he gave not one f..k about who was liable or who was paying, best he doesnt run the country.

        Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  24th March 2017

    at least hes not a ..tricophilliac….!

    Reply
  6. Brown

     /  24th March 2017

    An aquaintance is suing CYF for damages following their behaviour in court. This case has some similarities in that it gets to a point where the allegations made are so serious that, having not been properly retracted with grovelling and promises never to do it again etc.. within a reasonable time frame, you say stuff them and twist the knife. CYF staff I could almost excuse for being stupid to a stunning degree but Little thinks he’s prime minister material. God help us if he ever gets a chance to cock up anything big.

    He really seems to be a fool – this was never going away and the twit has just undone his case at the last minute hoping it will go away. I hope he gets stung for huge damages or settles out of court for a personally painful amount. The legal fees too date would be a start but I’d look to double that to make a point and tie him up with costs that cripple him.

    Reply
  7. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  24th March 2017

    That must be the most appalling apology I’ve ever read.

    Who the dickens has been advising Little?

    and why, oh why didn’t he ask Jacinda Adern about Niue before he opened his gob?

    Reply
  8. Nelly Smickers

     /  24th March 2017

    Wayne’s mum was telling us that she just heard from *a very reliable source* (somebody extremely close to the case), that this whole matter will be resolved by way of a confidential agreement *prior to April 3* ….. and that *no money* will change hands.

    As Wayne sez, “Angry Andy couldn’t hope for a better outcome….otherwise there would likely be hell toupee”.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  24th March 2017

      Geez, I hope the intel is better than the bum steer you gave me regarding the title of Hager’s book.

      Reply
      • Nelly Smickers

         /  24th March 2017

        We dropped some fish n’ chips off to her earlier tonite….and with what we overheard from a number of residents at Glad’s retirement village, *you can take this one to the bank Corks*

        Reply
  9. Gezza

     /  24th March 2017

    I warned Andy this would end in tears. On this blog. Several times. I can do no more for the gentleman now, beyond suggesting he urgently send them a draft apology of the most abject & humiliating nature with a suggestion he will consider any improvements they propose & talk money.

    Reply

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