Joyce threatens NBR and Hooton

Another MP has threatened media and a political commentator with legal action, this time over critical claims in an NBR column by Matthew Hooton

Newshub: Steven Joyce threatens Matthew Hooton and NBR with legal action – reports

National’s finance spokesperson Steven Joyce is threatening the National Business Review (NBR) and Matthew Hooton with legal action, Newshub understands.

On Friday, NBR published a column in which Mr Hooton was highly critical of Mr Joyce.

A source told Newshub that NBR received an “aggressive” letter about the column, which said it has until 5pm on Monday to retract or apologise.

The NBR’s publisher Todd Scott says Mr Joyce won’t be getting either a retraction or an apology.

He told Newshub if Mr Joyce is successful in launching legal action, NBR will subpoena a number of senior National MPs including Simon Bridges and Amy Adams.

Hooton promoting his column:

In today’s NBR, I kindly provide some useful advice to the new National Party leader over his upcoming reshuffle, while dangerously commenting on his, Natalie and their kids’ magazine appeal.

The column is behind a paywall at NBR: Joyce sacking first test of bridges’ leadership

Opinion: National MPs have finally been allowed to express what they really think of the party’s unelected strategist.

That sounds like Hooton is trying to put pressure on Bridges and Joyce. Hooton is not elected either, and his motives are questionable given he is a professional lobbyist. He should disclose any client interest if there is any, or should state that this political activism is a personal crusade only.

This comes after NBR have (apparently) sacked Hooton as a columnist. A recent exchange between Fran O’Sullivan and NBR publisher and owner Todd Scott:

That debunks claims of a niche blogger with huge chips on both shoulders and his supposed ‘sources’.

UPDATE: From Hooton on Facebook:

Just on this NBR thing: I rang Todd Scott early on Saturday afternoon after seeing his tweets and he confirmed he didn’t want to run my weekly column anymore. That’s absolutely his prerogative. A weekly column is a privilege not a right, and it his newspaper and he can decide who writes in it.

He was very clear that he appreciated I had never once abused my position as a columnist by mixing my commentary role with my commercial activities, and that all he was wanting to do was protect the NBR brand from future allegations of that nature. Fair enough.

On the Joyce matter, he said he would back me and his editors to the hilt, and he has been as good as his word.

For what it’s worth, I think the NBR is now a far better business newspaper than when I joined it as a columnist nine years ago and that has much to do with the investment Todd has made in the first-class news team. Good luck for the future guys – and sorry Deborah LaHatte that, in nine years, I’m not sure I ever quite made deadline!

UPDATE 2: NZH – Steven Joyce claims NBR column ‘highly defamatory’

National Party MP Steven Joyce has confirmed he made a formal complaint to NBR about a column which was highly critical of him, saying it was “highly defamatory.”

The column last Friday was by right-wing commentator Matthew Hooton following Joyce’s unsuccessful bid for the leadership of the National Party.

Joyce said the column was “highly defamatory and includes a significant number of factual inaccuracies”.

It is understood the letter from Joyce’s lawyers sought a retraction and apology.

NBR has not yet agreed to do either and it is understood any legal action Joyce took would be defended, including calling National MPs to give evidence in court should it get that far.

Politicians throwing around legal demands and threats are at risk of ‘the Streisand Effect’, drawing far more attention to critical comments than would otherwise have happened – and NBR is a low circulation publication behind a paywall.

This can hardly help Joyce in his political career that must be at a crossroads after his unsuccessful bid for leadership.

It’s hard to see this turning out well.

Leave a comment


  1. I think the odious and boorish Matthew should put his money where his especially large cake hole is concerned and stand for Parliament himself. Always got plenty to say that one.

    • Gezza

       /  March 5, 2018

      Still, I wonder what Hoots has said. Paywalled or not I expect the guts of it will be out soon?

      • Already out, in part at least – WO doesn’t care about paywalls if content suits their purposes, and another excuse for a vindictive tirade.


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