Judge pushes Tamihere’s post-Roastbusters dispute out of court

A High Court judge has ruled John Tamihere’s post-Roastbusters fallout case must go to arbitration.

The former RadioLive host claims MediaWorks’ treatment of him after the now notorious Roastbusters interview breached his contract and that he was defamed when MediaWorks announced his replacement Alison Mau. (see the judgment attached)

Mr Tamihere has claimed $500,000 for the defamation claim and $120,000 for breach of contract.

In June, lawyers for Mr Tamihere and his former employer MediaWorks took to the High Court at Auckland to argue over whether the dispute should play out behind closed doors.

Justice Simon France has ruled both the breach of contract and the defamation claim can be dealt with through arbitration.

“I prefer the approach that for the duration of the contractual relationship the parties agreed to refer disputes about the services to arbitration,” he says in a recent decision.

While Mr Tamihere's lawyer, Grove, Darlow & Partners partner Tim Allan, had told the court that the defamation claim should be heard by a jury, Justice France saw this as just one consideration.

“Defamation proceedings can be resolved by a judge alone if the parties choose, and so a choice of arbitration is simply an election in advance to forego one of the procedural options offered by resolution through the courts,” he says.

MediaWorks declined to comment while Mr Tamihere did not immediately respond to NBR ONLINE's request for comment. 

vyoung@nbr.co.nz