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D-Day: Colin Craig says he'll reveal his decision on defamation against Russel Norman at 5pm

UPDATE / Feb 21: It's D-Day (as in defamation day), but Colin Craig says he'll reveal his decision on whether to sue Russel Norman until 5pm [LATEST: It's on]

The Green co-leader has steadfastly refused to apologise all week.

If Mr Craig does sue, it might not be for money. A letter from the Conservative Party leader's lawyers to Dr Norman says it is "likely" Mr Craig will ask for a declaration under Section 24 of the Defamation Act - that is, to win a decision from a court that the Green leader's statement was defamatory rather than also seek financial damages.


Colin Craig threatens legal action against Russel Norman

Feb 17: Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is threatening defamation action against Russel Norman unless the Green co-leader apologises and retracts comments made about Mr Craig at Auckland's Big Gay Out last week.

"A vote for John Key is a vote for Colin Craig," Dr Norman told TV crews following him around the event, adding, "Now the thing about Colin Craig is he thinks that a woman's place is in the kitchen and a gay man's place is in the closet." 

A letter sent to Dr Norman by law firm Chapman Tripp this afternoon the comments made by the Green co-leader were untrue.

"They were also defamatory, as it harms his [Craig's] reputation to say he holds such sexist, derogatory and offensive views about women and gay men," the letter reads.

Separately, Mr Craig told media that three of the five staff he employs at the Conservative Party are women, and he would have no hesitation in employing a gay person either.

"Obviously the idea that gay men are going to hide in a closet for me is very, very out of touch with the reality,"  the Conservative leader said.

He wants an apology and retraction from Dr Norman by 5pm Friday.

The letter asks the Green co-leader to publish his retraction "in a manner which is likely to receive similar prominence on national television."

Norman won't back down
Dr Norman told RadioLive that he would not apologise. Instead, he underlined his earlier comments, saying "Colin Craig has said gay relationships aren't normal and NZ women are promiscuous. I think those views are offensive."

Mr Craig has previously threatened legal action against Fairfax over an instalment in Steve Braunias' "The Secret Diary of ..." series, and against Ben Uffindell, the blogster behind the satiric website The Civilian. Both were dropped after explanatory statements were made by the respective publishers.

The Conservative leader's threatened defamation action is the second controversy attached to this year's Big Gay Out. The February 15 event also sparked a claim by John Key that he could defeat David Cunliffe at beer pong, and Mr Cunliffe's counter-punch that he could drink the Prime Minister under the table.

Comments and questions

I can't help thinking that someone whose feelings are apparently so easily hurt is probably not suited to public life, never mind politics.

I humbly suggest if Colin hadn't made a fuss no-one would have paid any attention to Russel's comments.

Russell Norman thinks snails are people and business should be kept in the closet.

Russel Norman comments tell us more about him (Norman) than Colin Craig.

Essentially, he is now showing his true colors as a shyster who will say anything to get votes.

And he wants to be a leader?????

Go ahead Mr Craig

All you will achieve is to strengthen Mr Norman's case. Just by threatening legal action has re highlighted the fact that your party's perception is anti gay etc - not too smart

I election year you should think before you mouth off Mr Craig - this is further proof you are an amateur in the political scene and not worthy of consideration at election time. You would be cannon fodder for the likes of Winston Peters and other savvy politicians - should for some strange reason you be elected to Parliament.

I disagree - when you think about his likely constituency I think you'll find they'll be more than comfortable with his so-called anti-gay views.

The publicity will be nothing but good for him (again)

Not a Colin Craig fan but threating to sue, is quite normal, he has given "Dr" 'Josef' Norman a way out. I think Craig is fine in this instance. Norman has a habit of not engaging brain before speaking, it seems to be a trait he and Garfield Cunnliffe share.

However I do agree with yourlatter comment that Winne will use him for cannon fodder

Agree except how can Norman engage something he does not possess>

I'd love to comment, but I fear that I'll be sued for defamation if I do.

Do the country a favour and bankrupt Norman please....the guy is a danger to NZ

Ah, the oxygen of publicity. Breathe deeply, Mr Craig. kind of depends, really.

I can imagine as a conservative you're going to get all sorts of people looking to brand you in certain ways...Is there substance to what Russell Norman said?

If not, it would be much the same as someone saying Norman is a luddite greenie who wants to ban dihydrogen monoxide and have us all riding horses along the motorway to work.

Wrong! We wouldn't have motorways

Substance to what Norman said about Craig? Why yes, yes there is:

It is "not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal"

NZ women are the "most promiscuous in the world"

Yes, but those are not the comments that Norman originally made.

Kitchen, closet - those were the comments in question.

Not worth bothering, Colin - like most do-gooders Norman will have no actual dosh to pay either damages or costs.

you see that is why these people join the communists - they are jealous because they are incapable of making a decent life for themselves and determined that they will drag down anyone who has done so

Toughen up Mr Colin Craig. You are a public figure and a would-be politician now, not in Sunday School. Maybe you missed your Sunday School lesson on turning the other cheek and forgiving others. That Christian countenance doesn't include, as I recall letting loose your wolf pack of lawyers on those who dare criticize you.

I cant imagine that he, or Chapman Tripp would have "come out" (couldn't resist :) ) and gone to print on this, without deeper advice that they were on solid ground. Norman should retract.

Interesting comments Tom, but the views of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (Rich list #1 and 2) are much more alligned to Russel than Colin. Not sure how being anti-gay makes you a communist.....

Being anti gay makes you a communist? I suggest you reread my post. Norman is the Communist not Craig

Well done, Mr Craig. You have to be true to yourself rather than let someone to mislead others what you believe in.

I think this is actually a very astute political move. If Craig had simply issued a denial and said that no, he did not hold such extreme views, no one would have taken a blind bit of notice of him. I imagine that many people do think he holds those views. I certainly doubt his denial would have made the papers. But threatening to sue Norman for defamation, bang, now it's front page news. Everybody is talking about it. His denial is front and centre. As they say, no publicity is bad publicity.

The liberal L ft have now fall into a nasty pattern of badmouthing and ridiculing anyone who stands up to them.

Racist,homophobic, redneck...etc. These terms are constantly brandished like weapons by the bully boys and girls - it saves them engaging in genuine debate.

Good that Colin Craig is rich enough to challenge this. Too many who should know better are simply keeping their heads down.

I agree. Although not voting for Craig - Norman just spouted more lies and untruths and in the process defamed Craig, attempting to smear his reputation.

The Left - Greens in particular, need to learn there are consequences and accountabilities for their actions. It's just a shame they aren't learning that lesson over the economic sabotage of the MOM IPO's they heaped upon all of NZ with the millions of lost wealth they inflicted upon individuals, families, Iwi, Corporate & Institutional investors - and of course every single investor with a Kiwi saver account.

Nail the lying communist Craig - and drop kick him back to Aussie!

Let us not mention he who should not be named ever again for fear of litigation.

Coin toss, who would be the most dangerous to the NZ economy if they were to hold the single vote above the threshold to get Green party an extra seat or Conservative Colin a single seat. I do hope it's heads we get Colin, tails we get the Conservatives.

The more publicity pointing out Mr Norman's many failings the better, there is plenty of fertile ground. Borrowing $10,000 for every householder who wants to get solar in summer (and have the rest of NZ carry the cost of servicing them in winter), another, lets get the Reserve Bank to introduce QE (not Queen Elizabeth) to the arsenal, also we want lower power so we will regulate the price down (but that makes the solar loan a nonsense).

Can't wait to see what Winston brings to the party, he certainly will if there is a chance Colin is gaining traction.

Green Party Co-Leader Russell Norman has nicely snookered himself and his party in the upcoming General Election, by lying about an Opposition Party Leader, Colin Craig.

Norman claims that Colin Craig said that a woman's place is in the kitchen and a gay man's place is in the closet. Craig said neither, and Craig is now pursuing an action of defamation against Russell Norman.

A successful defamation action requires that a statement is both defamatory (to lower a persons estimation in the eyes of the public), and a statement that has been publicised.

Russell Norman may attempt "truth" or "honest opinion" as defences to the tort of defamation, however he would fail in both claims, as Norman stated the above commentary as a statement of fact - it is not.

Like the six previous organisations and individuals who have attempted to defame Colin Craig to date, and who have subsequently had to eat copious amounts of humble pie as a result, Russell Norman would do well to rapidly consider an immediate retraction and apology to Colin Craig, otherwise lobbying for functionally discredited solar panels is going to be the least of Russell Norman's political worries in 2014.

Can you imagine the fallout from the Greens if it was in reverse they would be back flipping on fire and calling for Mr Craig to be held accountable, Russell Normal is just a sad pathetic little man who thinks he knows best, Your comments made at the annual Auckland Big Gay Out were a disgrace it is sad to think that only gay men and women should vote for your political party on the basis that they are homosexual or a female, Russell I can say with ease there are plenty of homosexual men and women out there that vote National so hope you have a pen and paper handy for a rather long forgiving speech for Mr Craig or get ready to pay up big time if and when a court case is brought upon you. Time for Mr Norman to be taken down a peg or 2.

Very very clever.

A court case, publicised around the country, about exactly what a party leader does and doesn't believe in, would be pure gold to any small party.

The fact that it's also against the Greens leader can only add support from the right side of the political spectrum.

Reasoned debate is not advanced by Norman and others like him on the left who quickly default to playing the person not the issues. Again this is the sound of a character (Norman) I certainly wouldn't want near a government bench. Craig like many other thinking politicians (Lee Kuan Yew ) used a court to great effect in curbing specious comments that are factually baseless from polluting the real debate. Go Craig!!

Colin Craig is the best advertisement yet for state-funded political parties.

Jeanette Fitzsimons and the late Rod Donald had too much integrity to ever play the person, the Green party WAS all about the issues

Well the Green Party has certainly taken a sharp turn to the toxic since Donald and Fitzsimons has left, that's for sure.

It seems to me to be nothing other than a party now that is driven by identity and morality politics blended with the rhetoric of the radical far-left and driven by those who have a craven lust for power and at whatever cost it takes.

Craig should not sue just for a retraction - sue for damages and donate the money to a good cause.

That will effectively shift some of the money which would otherwise go to fund hypocrisy (Greenies complain about the environment being polluted but will drive cars and use all the modern conveniences).

Go Craig.

why all the media space.
It is just two guppy's having a pissing contest.