Colin Craig, at risk of a $20,000 fine for ‘spamming’ NZ with his ‘Dirty Politics’ booklet

I put on my Facebook page yesterday that I had received a copy of Colin Craig’s ‘Dirty Politics’ booklet in my letterbox and asked people of Dunedin if I was lucky enough to be singled out (a little paranoid I know) or if anyone else received it as well.

Colin Craig FBI was more than a little surprised to find out that not only did I, and others from Dunedin receive it, but also people in Winton, Tauranga, Auckland, Gisborne, Kaitaia, Timaru, Christchurch, Hastings, Napier and Mangawhai get the glossy 12 pager. Since that Facebook post I have had confirmed to me by a source that in fact it’s gone or going to every household in New Zealand. That’s 1.8 million residences.

Someone mentioned in a comment that they had received a copy of the booklet even though they have a ‘no circulars’ sticker on their letterbox, which reminded me that we have a ‘no junk mail’ on ours. So with a little research I found out that it is an offence to deliver unsolicited mail to a letterbox that has a notification on it informing that they don’t want any. The Marketing Association has a sector called  Mailbox Help designed to sort out situations like this, they work alongside groups like NZ Post. If you’re interested you can get hold of Mailbox Help for whatever reason you want on 0800 111 081.

I spoke with Mailbox Help and they informed me that they have had complaints about Colin Craig’s booklet from Kaitaia to Dunedin. I asked what happens next and they said that it was likely that they would be undertaking a ‘severe investigation’ as there had been so many complaints. If after the investigation it’s decided that Mr. Craig has committed an offence he could be fined up to $20,000 and made to either retract his deliveries or stop them all together. In layman’s terms if this timeline was to happen it’s likely that Colin Craig may face a financial penalty then have to issue a public apology to, what can only be described as, spamming the whole of New Zealand.

The above may make people smirk, but there is also a much more serious element to the delivery of these booklets and it’s two fold. The first is that Mr. Craig is claiming defamation against Cameron Slater, John Stringer and Jordan Williams. Defamation is a jury trial but with sending out this booklet to, what would appear to be, the whole of New Zealand Mr. Craig has made it impossible for a jury to be formed that has not been influenced by himself for his own gain. Secondly, there has been counter-claims by the three accused that this booklet is defamatory and that they potentially, as a group or individually, may take legal action against Mr. Craig themselves. If indeed this 12 page booklet contains inaccuracies attributed to anyone of the three then surely Colin Craig has now opened himself up to a significant legal action. I also note that the Conservative Party and Newstalk ZB have taken down links to the booklet, so maybe one can assert that they are asking the same questions about it as well?

Finally I just want to touch on a post I wrote a couple of days ago asking if Colin Craig was an innocent victim here, or maybe had narcissistic tendencies. I don’t know, and am not qualified to make that conclusion definitively however i just want you to think now about what has happened over the last few days.

A man who has never won a political position but spent (if you include the booklet) several million dollars trying to do so, who is always 100% assured of his success and who believes that what is happening to him personally is of vital importance to all of NZ as shown in his press conference of July 29th…

Either the dirty politics brigade is telling the truth or I am. The New Zealand public need certainty about the truth of these claims. This is about who is honest. Is Colin Craig telling the truth or is it the Dirty Politics Brigade. Let the courts judge this matter so we know whom to trust.

…has made accusations that he has been personally wronged.

So what is a narcissistic? According to some of the characteristics of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are…

  • a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • an overwhelming need for admiration
  • belief they are of primary importance in everybody’s life

I’ve stated that I don’t have the qualifications, nor the desire, to diagnose anybody with any disorder, but seeing as Colin Craig is such a believer in binding referendum lets let the public decide.

UPDATE 1.30pm

To the original point of this post, that Mr. Craig has sent his booklet to letter boxes that have ‘no junk mail’ stickers on them. I have just received a copy of the delivery instructions by Reach Media to its workers who actually put the booklets into the letterboxes.

CCRaig distribution

As you can see clearly it states that for the COLIN CRAIG VS DIRTY POLITICS delivery the deliverer is to ‘include‘ the ‘no circs‘ letterboxes.

Speaking with Reach Media they claim that the reason they have delivered it to ‘no circ‘ letter boxes was that it was booked in as a “government piece” although they also concede they didn’t know what the delivery was when it was booked. When asked if they thought in hindsight if it was a ‘government piece’ the gentleman on the phone, who claimed he took the original booking, agreed it was not.

UPDATE 2.45pm

NZ Post have been in touch to make clear they are not responsible for fining people who breach the rules around junk mail so I want to retract a former heading of this post which claimed that NZ Post was potentially going to fine Colin Craig,  however the fine is still very much a possibility. For example, as stated in the North Shore City Bylaw, Section 5 Offence to Deposit Unaddressed Unsolicited Material, 4.95 Depositing unaddressed, unsolicited material “Every person who breaches this bylaw may be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000.” There are similar bylaws for different parts of the country with fines of various amounts.

Colin Craig…innocent victim or narcissistic manipulator?

So it all came out yesterday that, after several threats of legal action against numerous figures during his short public career, Colin Craig will finally be taking someone to court…or so he says.

Yesterday Mr. Craig released a booklet which claims to expose the ‘dirty politics’ and ‘hidden agenda’ of what appears to be the world against Colin and I, for one, am excited to see this get to a courtroom because it will answer once and for all if Mr. Craig is a innocent victim, or a narcissist of the highest order.

Mr Craig seems utterly sure that this legal action is an open-and-shut case. One thing I can say for sure is that Mr. Craig often claims certainty when speaking publicly but it’s not always the case.

Have a listen to this audio from The Slightly Correct Political Show in 2011 and hear his absolute confidence in how he knows he will win Rodney.

Mr. Craig cites expert advice in the form of polling, and explains that his win is a slam dunk. On election night 2011 Mr Craig lost to Mark Mitchell (National) by more than 12,200 votes. Mr. Craig always claims absolute knowledge of how things are going to turn out…but the truth is often far different. I have to say that it is my honest held belief that the way he is speaking now about this latest legal case sounds eerily similar to how he was speaking about his upcoming win in 2011, and that raises alarm bells for me.

I have knowledge of some of the texts that some are claiming Mr. Craig sent to his former Press Secretary, Rachel MacGregor, and if this goes to trial, then phone records will need to be presented in courts and if the texts are traceable to Mr. Craig (or indeed any of the ‘evidence’ that the accused say they have) it will be the shortest trial in history. The other question is if Mr. Craig has a case and the accusations made against him are malicious and false…then what?

“Defamation in New Zealand is governed by the Defamation Act 1992 and an established body of case law. It is an area of law that is designed to protect a person’s reputation against unjustifiable attack. Providing such protection requires a fine balance between the protection of reputation and the freedom of expression as contained in Section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.” What that basically means is that is a person’s reputation is damaged by lies, then defamation may well have happened but I guess my question would be what reputation is Colin Craig trying to protect? Is it the reputation for questioning the moon landing? Is it the reputation for stating on Radiolive that the current political figure he most admires is Vladimir Putin? Is it the litigious reputation that Colin Craig has threatened to pull out on more than one occasion? What reputation is he protecting and what reputation has been besmirched should these accusations prove false?

It is my honest held belief that this will not see the inside of the courtroom, it seems unlikely to me, that Mr. Craig will put himself and his marriage through the potential of not getting the win in the courtroom which will justify everything that the three accused have said about him. He has too much to lose should he not get a resounding win. Also Mr. Craig has published an interview with Mr. X in his booklet, if this goes to court Mr. Craig will be forced to reveal who Mr. X is as there as claims in that interview that some of the accused have already called slander and Mr. Craig does not have the same protection in court to keep a source anonymous as a journalist has. No matter if he is innocent of these claims or not, his life will be turned upside down by court proceedings and, although many of us question his decisions sometimes, even he would be smart enough to see that this is a no-win outcome for him.

The Panel with Cameron ‘WhaleOil’ Slater and Richard Barter

Cameron, Richard and Pat talk about Nick Smith, The Ports of Auckland and wearing religious iconography

Ideology versus intelligent debate

It’s been fascinating to watch the small (let’s be honest…very small) ripple of the Cameron Slater/Helen Kelly post I wrote yesterday and I’ve be really interested in how people have pigeon holed me and cast aspersions on my character and decided what kind of person I am.

I think it’s a case of ideology versus intelligent debate.

If you are an ideologue, I think the chances of reasoned debate is diminished as all you can see is the conversation from your side…now that makes sense but any intelligent person will tell you that ‘your side’ is not always going to be right…logic dictates that sometimes it will be in the wrong. Therefore if you support ‘your side’ 100%, you are sometimes supporting the side who is wrong.

Let me take a step backwards.

I have written several posts about Union issues in the past couple of years, sometimes supporting them as in the NZEI case for National Standards (so much so that the NZEI put my post on their website for others to read) and sometimes not supportive of them as in the Ports dispute right now. After the NZEI post I was called a ‘Socialist’, ‘a leftie loon’ and ‘the mouth piece of Helen Clarke’, after the Ports piece I have been called a…well lets have a look at that.

On Kiwiblog in and amongst the comments here are some thoughts…apparently I am “not the brightest light on the Xmas tree” or thoughts that maybe I was “dishonest”. I also started my last post with a statement of not being anti-union, that has been compared to someone saying “I am not racist…but I hate Maori”

So far my favourite response has come from one time colleague Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury. You see I am a microscopic fish in the world of blogging so sometimes when I write a post I also send an email to some ‘colleagues’ to let them know what I have just posted about. It’s kind of like prostituting myself looking for more hits as a pay off. I did this last night after my most recent post and got these responses from Martyn via email.

actually after reading this, I defriended you from Facebook, having an opinion is one thing Pat, being cameron slaters bitch is another thing. What a load of anti-union hysterical bullshit. You are well on your way to being a rednecked talkback host. Congratulations.

Followed 60 seconds later by this one.

when you do evil Pat, people tend to notice. Giving slater time after he’s being paid by PoA is pretty dirty though isn’t it?

I email him to wish him well for the future seeing as we were no longer ‘friends’ and may have just mentioned that it was a shame that the week before when we asked him to come on and put his perspective to one of these issues he wouldn’t respond to us to which he again responded.

I would have zero interest in being on right wing christian radio Patty and my advice to the Union movement would be to bypass it as well.

Again followed 60 seconds later by this one.

Oh and btw – stop sending me this unsolicited right wing Christian crap.

When I supported Martyn over his fallout with Radio NZ he was happy to receive my ‘crap’, when I wrote the piece about the NZEI he was happy to receive my ‘crap’, when he saw me on TVNZ talking politics he was happy to send me ‘crap’ congratulating me on the show and when he heard me on ZB and facebooked me congratulating me on my content one can only assume he was happy to allow my ‘crap’ to flow in his ears…but not now. Not now that my latest ‘crap’ doesn’t all of a sudden fit with his ideological narrative…now we cannot be FB friends

I don’t mean to pick on Bomber in this, I like him, always have, still do and probably always will, my wife knows him a little bit from University days and she likes him too but it’s a good example of how ideology gets in the way of intelligent debate, I am not anti-union…I am anti how this union is handling this one industrial action, period.

Today on my talkback show I stood up for the PSA…wait for it…a union. I back them in their claims that John Key has broken his promise about job losses. I agree, he is in the wrong and I support them in that. I support the Rest Home Workers Union…you guys should be getting paid ten times what you are for the work you do.

But an ideologue cannot see the wood for the trees, an ideologue cannot reason that an intelligent person can look at an issue and make an independent assessment of that issue…which may, or may not be parallel to whom they supported last time and I think this is what gets debate de-railed 90% of the time in NZ as it’s the ideologues who write the blogs, who comment on the radio, who write the speeches, who tell you what to think.

I like ’em all, I have no beef with anyone of them, it just saddens me that those of us that you could justifiably call centrist are not the ones pulling the big audiences on air, in print, or on telly as we are not controversial enough…until we disagree with an ideologue.

UPDATE: A response from WhaleOil to Bombers emails

Pat, a point of clarification. I know you didn’t say it but Bomber has done so.

I am not, nor have ever been paid by POAL or anyone associated with them in any manner, either in kind or in cash for my posts about the Ports dispute.

I have simply verified and reported facts as they came to light. I in no way hold you responsible for Martyn Bradbury’s defamation. I certainly do not wish you to take it down.

I want people to see it, together with my outright rejection of his lies.

My apologies to Cameron to not have already putting some kind of disclaimer in amongst Bombers email

Helen Kelly, Cameron Slater and the Ports fiasco

Let me start by saying this, I am not anti union. If you look at my record I have supported Union’s causes more times than I have criticized them as can be seen in a post I wrote about the NZEI and National Standards 18 months ago. The interactions and opinions I share now about the Unions and the Ports are solely based on this issue and not a a past of blindly supporting either the Left or Right of this, or any other conversations, about Unions past, present or future.

I wrote a post last week about an interview I did with Garry Parsloe from the Maritime Union but as most talkbacks listeners will be aware this conversation has continued on. Prior to this conversation I had no position on who I believed was right in the debate, and to be honest to this date I would still say that I don’t believe there are any innocent parties here, I don’t believe either side truly bargained in good faith and through obstinate belligerence from both sides we are now at an impasse. For me though the case set before the public now has demonstrated that the Ports in this case are ‘closer’ to being correct that the Unions without the ‘rose tinted glasses’ idea that they have done no wrong.

Yesterday we had Cameron ‘WhaleOil’ Slater on the show yesterday talking about the headlines he had made releasing information of a Port’s of Auckland worker, Cecil Walker, and how he received 21 weeks paid leave in a year where sadly he lost his wife. It would appear that Whale’s point was after Mr. Walker came out and critisized the Ports, he wanted NZ to get a fuller understanding of how this one worker had been treated by his employers.

We had earlier in the week also offered Garry Parsloe to come on the show again, live in studio for a whole hour. We wanted our listeners to be able to interact with him and allow them to make up their own mind. We also offered Richard Pearson the same opportunity so we’d have them both on at the same time but he flatly refused to be in the same room as Mr. Parsloe in a media setting. A testament to perhaps that impasse I spoke of earlier.

In my interview yesterday, Cameron Slater brought up some other information about another case at the Ports where a worker had been dismissed for bullying tactics, a section of the audio is below.

The Port worker was never named, and I don’t believe identified in any way, however for his privacy I have left off the first part of the comment in case anyone knows him personally and can identify him because of that, but certainly to us, the great unwashed, we would never know who this man is by Whale’s comments.

Subsequent to yesterdays show we received a call to my producers cell phone from Helen Kelly from the CTU.

Again I have edited this slightly to protect some personal details that were given out in the message.

Couple of things about the answer phone message. If there has been a slandering of a Port worker I would of course retract and apologise, but from listening to the audio I don’t believe there has been. For me to ‘give [Cameron Slater] space’ on the station being a concern for Helen Kelly is ironic as we have had on Garry Parsloe so many times the news room jokes about giving him his own slot. The opinions and spokespeople for the union position have had far more airtime on my network than the counter view which you heard via Cameron Slater and for Ms. Kelly to say we needed to ‘rectify’ the situation implies that we have done something wrong, which I don’t believe we have. I also got the feeling that there were threatening undertones when Ms. Kelly informed us that ‘[we] were liable for that as well’.

We then spent some time through the morning speaking with Ms. Kelly via phone and email (when I say ‘we’…I mean my producer) and upon offering her a space to reply this morning at 10.35am we received this response via email

As I advised you today this time is unsuitable and was not confirmed nor was it scheduled as a right of reply. Yesterday your show enabled statements to be made about a Port worker that were wrong and extremely damaging to him. We have requested that you apologize for this and have offered you the facts. We would also like the chance to be on the show to talk about the dispute separately from this. I am available at 11 tomorrow and new stories will be available by then of interest to your listeners. Your station operates on a set of principles. When it makes a mistake it should fix it. We are giving you the chance to do this as a settlement of this issue.

Also in a phone call to my producer Helen Kelly said speaking of me, ‘I wouldn’t talk to that idiot on air’ and let us know that ‘the paperwork was in the mail’ which I can only take as a threat of legal action.

Purely by chance we have Cameron Slater on again today as a part of a daily news headlines conversation called The Panel, and whilst talking on air about this issue and the fall out with Helen Kelly Mr. Slater offered to speak directly with Ms. Kelly in studio. I thought this was a great idea so the offer was made to her to come into studio tomorrow at 11am (which if you read her earlier email she was keen to do) and put her concerns directly to WhaleOil. We go a three word email back from that offer.

No thank you.

Subsequent to the now refusal to come on air I have received this message via my facebook page from Ms. Kelly.

Dear Mr Brittenden

I don’t expect to be used by your station in the way you seem intent on doing. I have had a respectful relationship with Rhema and have done many interviews etc. I have asked you to correct a very serious statement made on your Programme about a person who is involved in the Port dispute and to date this has not been done. I would expect you would want to do this if my concern is valid. I have also asked to talk to you about the dispute. I note Mr Slater is saying I have threatened you with suing if you keep using him. You know this is not true. Any liable action will be regarding an uncorrected statement. My offer is still open and I am happy to talk about it with you. I am on 021XXXXXX.

Yours Sincerely
Helen Kelly.

One point, Helen Kelly is correct she never threatened to sue us for using Cameron Slater, I’ve never said that and don’t know where it has come from. However, as you heard in the answer phone message, she doesn’t think we should be using him, and one can assume that Helen Kelly would be happier if we didn’t use Cameron Slater again.

I believe in open and honest conversation, what Helen Kelly wants is communication on her terms. I think it’d be great to have both parties in the studio to discuss this situation. As the public we are still in a position of ‘he said/she said’ and both sides are calling each other liars. That doesn’t help the public perception or knowledge of this situation.

The invitation is still open…and there is no issue with my show and Helen Kelly. If there is another conversation worthy item in the future you can bet we will still be contacting her for comment.

I also have a challenge to both sides. If indeed there was slander yesterday of a Port worker in my show then have the Port worker contact me. I wouldn’t think it possible that a Union President can bring any kind of legal action against a media outlet if one of there members was slandered, surely it would need to be taken by the person who has been slandered. But equally Cameron Slater says he has the evidence that his claims are accurate and correct, I’d be happy to see that as well Mr. Slater.