If you ever wanted any proof of how bloody minded Andrew Little is, you should have no doubt with the events that played out in the Wellington High Court over the past week.
It was the defamation case brought against the Labour leader by the Hagaman family of Christchurch. They argued they were defamed after Little claimed they donated a hundred grand to the National Party before the last election after which their hotel chain got the job of managing a resort on Niue.
Lani Hagaman says they were offended by the notion they'd expect anything in return for their donation. They pointed out the elderly Earl Hagaman, who's apparently on his deathbed and a diehard atheist, even gave a million bucks to Christchurch Cathedral.
The Hagamans were upset by an apparent link between their political donation and the hotel contract and gave Little several weeks to apologise. He dug his toes in until the legal writing was on the wall and he finally apologised, offering twenty six grand but then upping it to a hundred thousand, obviously in an attempt to stop proceedings.
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Too late, six defamation suits were filed by the Hagamans for more than two million bucks but after a week's trial, only one stood the test with the jury unable to unanimously decide on the rest. Even on the one they found in favour of Earl Hagaman they couldn't decide whether Little meant any ill will toward them.
Of course the Labour leader's ill will was political and was directed at the Government, the Hagamans' were unfortunately collateral damage. But that doesn't make their chagrin any less and they've spent a lot of time and money emphasising that.
All of this could easily have been avoided by Andrew Little if had the good grace to make it clear where his target was. And of course that's why we have parliamentary privilege where dodgy claims can be made, and have frequently been made by politicians with impunity, which doesn't necessarily make them right, but at least avoids this sort of litigation.
Little's second monetary offer to the Hagamans will be a drop in the legal fee bucket that he's now confronting, money he said he would have raised by taking a mortgage over his house.
At least now he'll get some understanding of what it's like to be a first-home buyer. He could though go for costs from the substantial Hagaman pot but that'd require more legal time and money.
The whole saga does Little no credit, an apology sooner rather than later would have saved a lot of heartache.