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.

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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.