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 PsychCentral.com 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.

Why the Government, the Opposition and the Media may help Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail walk

On the weekend when the story broke of the diplomat invoking diplomatic immunity to flee potential charges over a sexual assault I was amazed and concerned as to the tone of the reporting, and the comments made by many as to the alleged incident. Notice I used the word alleged there, I did that on purpose and it’s what many who have spoken publicly have not done, which now may be a genuine defence for Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail’s lawyers.

We have a think in our justice system called Sub Judice where “it is generally considered inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice, which can be an offence in itself, leading to contempt of court proceedings.” This is also linked quite closely to the legal requirement for a court case that all accused are “innocent until proven guilty” but in a more basic way it’s all about not speaking publicly about a case that may influence the jury, and therefore the outcome of that case. It applies only when charges have been brought so I acknowledge this technically isn’t in breach of that convention, but I would argue that there has already been an atmosphere created that may not allow Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail to get a fair hearing. If someone cannot get a fair hearing…they walk.

Some specific comments that I would point to.

John Key

“Our hands are effectively tied, but we still expect justice for the victim”
“we will do everything that we possibly can to make sure this person is held to account”

David Shearer

“…justice is not done for the victim here and we don’t see that that person is brought properly to justice”

Now these statements (which are a couple of many, many public comments made by politicians, talkback hosts, bloggers, commentators etc…) paint a picture of justice needing to be done for a victim, If there is a victim there is a crime and they are associating that crime to the diplomat. They are saying he committed the crime and needs to face justice for the victim.

A quick Google on the subject around the time the news broke shows many headlines that talk in the affirmative of a crime being committed and linking it to the diplomat.

HeadlinesNow this post is in now way a support of the diplomat, or a defence of attacks on women so please don’t see it that way, I am purely looking at how this may, or may not proceed in a legal sense. I am left wondering, due to the environment flamed by John Key, Murray McCully, David Shearer and all in the media who have inadvertently, or blatantly, convicted Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail of committing a crime, have now also given his lawyer the ability to argue that his client cannot get a fair hearing.

And I think he may have a point.