John Armstrong 's Opinion

John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

John Armstrong: Running to mum no way to play politics

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Colin Craig. Photo / APN
Colin Craig. Photo / APN

Colin Craig needs to harden up and quickly.

A mixture of bemusement and amusement greeted the Conservative Party leader's confirmation that he intends taking a defamation case against Greens co-leader Russel Norman unless the latter apologises for saying Craig "thinks that a woman's place is in the kitchen and a gay man's place is in the closet".

Norman's response could be summed up as follows: Make my day, Colin. Nothing would suit the Greens more than a court showdown with the Conservatives given Craig's inflammatory views on gays.

If Craig's threat is simply a stunt to get some publicity, it has been both poorly conceived and poorly executed. Craig blinked first when he was interviewed on Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme, responding to Mary Wilson's questions by appearing to soften his stance on gays and consequently sending mixed messages as to what he really believes.

However, the overriding impression now given by Craig is that he can hand it out in spades.

But when it comes to taking it, he runs to the courts the way a child runs crying to its mother after being stung by a bee it has been taunting.

Perhaps worse in political terms would be a result which saw Craig win the court case on technical grounds, only for the jury to flag what it really thought and humiliate Craig by awarding him the princely sum of one cent in damages.

Better that Craig forgot the whole thing. The trouble is he has set a Friday deadline for Norman to apologise and Norman is doing no such thing.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

John Armstrong

John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

Herald political correspondent John Armstrong has been covering politics at a national level for nearly 30 years. Based in the Press Gallery at Parliament in Wellington, John has worked for the Herald since 1987. John was named Best Columnist at the 2013 Canon Media Awards and was a previous winner of Qantas media awards as best political columnist. Prior to joining the Herald, John worked at Parliament for the New Zealand Press Association. A graduate of Canterbury University's journalism school, John began his career in journalism in 1981 on the Christchurch Star. John has a Masters of Arts degree in political science from Canterbury.

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