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Collins' next step towards defamation suit

David Williams
Mon, 30 Apr 2012

After two threatening letters asking for an apology and costs, Judith Collins appears likely to follow through with threats of defamation action against two Labour MPs.

Andrew Little has confirmed he and fellow Labour MP Trevor Mallard have been sent letters from the ACC minister's solicitors this afternoon stating Ms Collins has instructed them to start proceedings.

Mr Little says the letter is no surprise and he takes the threat seriously, although he's confident after taking legal advice that he's in the clear. 

Further, he calls the action "bullshit" and says the latest letter continues the "bullying and bluster" from the minister over the Bronwyn Pullar affair.

Radio New Zealand communications manager John Barr says the national broadcaster - which aired Messrs Little and Mallard's comments - has not received such a letter.

NBR ONLINE asked Ms Collins' office when proceedings might be filed, but her spokeswoman said: "I think the minister's made it quite plain that she's not going to be commenting on matters that are proceeding."

Ms Collins is paying for the legal action herself.

The defamation action relates to the Labour MPs' comments over the leaking of an email, written by former National Party president and Pullar-confidant Michelle Boag, that led to Ms Pullar's identity being made public by a Sunday newspaper. 

The Privacy Commissioner is now investigating.

The scandal began with Pullar being inadvertently sent details of 6700 ACC cases.

Former ACC minister Nick Smith resigned all his Cabinet portfolios after it was revealed he wrote an endorsement letter for Ms Pullar on ministerial letterhead.

David Williams
Mon, 30 Apr 2012
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Collins' next step towards defamation suit